Dripping Gold: On the Hunt for Honey in Kenya

Collection with 15 media items created by Berta Tilmantaite

Kenya 05 Mar 2016 05:16

“This is my bank” says 53-year-old Agnes Cheptepkeny and motions towards her small tin house where two of the rooms from floor to ceiling are filled with bucketfuls of honey. “When I have money, I buy honey. This is how I save up. And when I need cash, I can sell a bucket or two” tells A. Cheptepkeny, whose one bucket of honey is worth around 80 Euros.

This woman lives in a town of Marigat, located in the Rift valley, Baringo County. This place is a home for people of Tugen, Ilchamus, and Pokot tribes which are known for their beekeeping and good quality honey. A. Cheptepkeny is from Tugen tribe and has been selling honey for quite some time.

Kenya is not very famous for its honey. Ethiopia and Tanzania are places where the biggest amount of this liquid gold is being collected. On the other hand, Kenya’s nature is the same as in the previously stated countries, so there is definitely a potential for successful beekeeping and honey export, although slow adaptation of new technologies, lack of knowledge, small interest of younger generations, parasites and pesticides used in agriculture, climate change, an unorganized market, and undeveloped infrastructure are the main issues that encumber this activity.

Kenya Honey Beekeeping Bee Africa Apiculture Bees Development Tradition

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Honey in Kenya 01
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41) is firing up a bunch of sticks that he is later going to use to smoke the bees away from the beehive in Marigat, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 15
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
28 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) is calling a motorbike driver, to come to her house and help to take a bucket of honey to the market.

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Honey in Kenya 14
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
28 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) in her room, fully stacked with buckets of honey.

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Honey in Kenya 13
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
28 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41) together with his wife is working as a shoemaker in Marigat town Kenya. When bee hives are full, he also goes to harvest honey and sell it to add to family's budget.

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Honey in Kenya 12
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

An old traditional log bee hive in the garden where Philip Kipyertor (41) and Joseph Kipkoshoni (70) go to harvest honey.

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Honey in Kenya 11
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Marigat town and market along the road, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 02
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41) is harvesting the honey from his beehive hanging high up in the tree in Marigat, Kenya.

People produce honey for consumption, because it's high in energy. It is also used as sweetener and as a medicine. The honey and the beeswax is also sold to earn some extra money. In some places it is still used to pay dowries for the bride.

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Title photo for the collection
Honey in Kenya 03
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41), Joseph Kipkoshoni (70) and Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) are checking freshly harvested honey combs in Marigat, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 04
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41) and Joseph Kipkoshoni (70) are walking around the trees and checking their beehives in Marigat, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 05
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) and her son are processing the honey in Marigat market, Kenya.

"This is my bank," says Agnes, pointing to honey buckets. Anytime she has cash, she buys honey, processes it and sells to make a living.

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Honey in Kenya 06
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Honey is processed in Marigat market, Kenya. Marigat is a fast-growing town located in the Rift Valley, Baringo County. This area is home to the Tugen, Njemps and Pokot communities, famous for their honey.

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Honey in Kenya 07
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) waits for customers by her honey kiosk in Marigat market, Kenya. Agnes makes her living from honey and even started a certification process. Once her product is tested and confirmed to meet quality standards, she can label her honey jars and start to distribute it to markets and export it to other countries.

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Honey in Kenya 08
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Philip Kipyertor (41) prepares to climb a tree with a bucket and fire to harvest honey in Marigat, Kenya.

"This year a lot of beehives are empty because of the draught," says Philip. He works as a shoemaker in the town, but also has a few beehives and harvests honey to add some money to the family budget.

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Honey in Kenya 09
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53) is trying a freshly harvested honey, that Philip Kipyertor (41) and Joseph Kipkoshoni (70) brought to her in Marigat market, Kenya.

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Honey in Kenya 10
Marigat, Kenya
By Berta Tilmantaite
27 Oct 2015

Agnes Cheptepkeny (53), Philip Kipyertor (41) and Joseph Kipkoshoni (70) taste a freshly harvested honey in Marigat market, Kenya.