Thursday, November 03, 2011
By Bob Koigi, Business Daily Africa, 10/31/2011
The rise of a honey by-product, propolis, as a wonder ingredient for the global pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries is driving new sales for farmers across Kenya, with groups and companies alike reporting that the demand for the product is growing faster than any producer can expand.
The hive product, which the bees use to line the nest and combs and to repair cracks in the hive, has become an active ingredient in skin moisturisers, food technologies and medicines due to its ability to blend well with other ingredients.
It is gathered by the beekeeper either by scraping the inside of the hive or by stimulating bees to apply the substance to a plastic sheet with holes in it, which they attempt to fill.
Locally, companies like Tego Foods, Dotino Pharmaceuticals and Lightshade Cosmetics are now buying propolis from local farmers in a newly lucrative business line.
According to Euro Monitor, the price of propolis has risen by up to 70 per cent since the 1990s, when its uses were limited to food technology. It is now selling for as much as Sh4,750 per kilo in the international market.
This is stimulating new beekeeping enterprises across the country…