Honey Care Africa is an interesting trio of articles in which we learn how one man can make a significant difference to an industry and an entire country. The authors of Honey Care Africa describe the successes, failures and overwhelming challenges that Farouk Jiwa had to overcome to transform the culture of the African people so that they may become self-sufficient and successful farmers in the beekeeping industry.
The history of farming and more specifically beekeeping in Africa was characterized by corruption, inefficiencies, and limited resources available to the farmers. Additionally, many farmers had to wait long periods of time before ever getting paid for their products. These difficulties often discouraged them and limited their ability to continue their operation.
Farouk Jiwa is the founder and Director of Honey Care Africa. Jiwa established a for-profit business model that focused on assisting African farmers in ...view middle of the document...
Jiwa and Honey Care Africa developed a business model that incorporated key operational factors that were crucial to gain the trust of the African farmer. He also believed that the farmers needed to have a stake in their investment and not simply receive a handout. He thought handouts would only create more dependency.
With this in mind his business model provided a method for the farmer to obtain a loan for the equipment for the beekeeping operation. The financing also enabled the farmers to upgrade their equipment to the Langstroth beekeeping hives which increased the quality of the honey and allowed for higher efficiencies in production.
The business model also provided packaging, marketing, and distribution methods that helped the farmers gain easier access to the supermarkets. They also provided cash payments to the farmers for their honey which alleviated the long periods of time that they were normally used to. Additionally, the farmers were provided training and support through a team of project officers who were there anytime the farmers needed assistance.
During the first five years, Honey Care Africa and the African farmers realized successful and steady growth. By 2004, there were over 1,573 honey suppliers with 5,681 families that were directly benefiting as a result of Jiwa and the business model for Honey Care Africa.
With the business relatively small, Jiwa was tempted to stray from his original business plan and seek out new growth opportunities. These opportunities included flavored honey and beeswax. Jiwa however was very cautious to never lose focus on the commitment to look after the needs of the farmers. He States “We should never forget where we came from.”
Jiwa and Honey Care Africa is a great example for the business leaders of the world. Jiwa demonstrated tremendous leadership by putting the farmers first and focusing on gaining their trust. He demonstrated that by incentivizing the stakeholders of the industry so that he could build up a successful business while also positively affecting a country and its people.