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Local News: African venture earns accolades Black Habits Articles Farouk Jiwa jokes being “one to watch” isn’t necessarily a good thing when you’re a 31-year-old bald, goateed man from East Africa.

But the York University graduate’s business brilliance in running East Africa’s largest honey production firm — and raising the income of 9,000 small Kenyan farm households by half — recently earned the 2005 One-to-Watch award from his fellow alumni.

“People, the planet and profits do not have to be mutually exclusive,” says the landed immigrant, a Nairobi native who returned to Canada last year as an agricultural business specialist, after previous stints here as a student.

“It is possible,” he says, “to run a business that generates social, economic and environmental values that sustain development in the developing world.”

Jiwa’s Honey Care Africa could silence critics who think business and thirdworld development can’t go hand in hand.

Launched in 2000 with a $50,000 loan from Danida, the Danish government’s International Development Agency, Jiwa’s social enterprise manufactures wooden beehives and distributes them to small farmers. The beekeepers sell their honey back to Jiwa at a fairtrade price governed by the International Fair Trade Association, which monitors labour exploitation. Farmers keep the full profit after paying off the $70 cost to lend the beehives.

Participating households normally earn about $1 a day, and can bring in an extra $180 to $250 a year. Last year, the firm produced 350 tonnes of honey with total sales of $750,000. Jiwa’s project has garnered six international awards. TORSTAR NEWS SERVICE
Posted on Thursday, January 05 @ 00:00:00 UTC by jcohen

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