Top business women build beehives in Africa

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Lorraine Hendle, front left, is building beehives in Tanzania with eight other food industry business leaders
Lorraine Hendle, front left, is building beehives in Tanzania with eight other food industry business leaders

Related tags: Honey, 2 sisters food group

Senior women business leaders from the the food and drink industry – including managers from 2 Sisters Food Group, Bakkavor and the Food Manufacture Group’s publisher William Reed Business Media – are completing a week of building beehives in Tanzania; in a bid to boost local farmers' income from honey.

The group is on course to build 90 beehives from scratch as part of the Big Beehive Build project.

Organised by the charity Farm Africa, the project aims to help launch a profitable honey producing business to help mitigate the devastating impact of deforestation in the Nou Forrest area of the country. As the nation’s forests disappear at the rate of 1,500 football fields a day, local farmers, suffering reduced water supplies, are struggling to grow enough food for their families.

Break the cycle of poverty

Farm Africa aims to break the cycle of poverty and hunger by bringing together local communities, government and helpers to develop sustainable businesses such as honey production.

Lorraine Hendle, md of our publisher’s retail and manufacturing group, told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “The Big Beehive Build is an opportunity for Farm Africa, with our help, to reach a new community in the area and to leave behind the legacy of sustainable beekeeping businesses, so that individual farmers can provide for their families – forever.

“While beekeeping is a traditional activity in the area, introducing these modern hives means that production can double in just one year and that the farmers will get a better price at market, as well as empowering women to start honey businesses.” 

April Preston, 2 Sisters

“I know that there will be many differences between my life and those of people in Tanzania but underneath I feel that people are the same. They want to improve their lives and their children’s future. It’s about building something sustainable, supporting people’s livelihoods.

Empowering women

Other members of the all-women team included: April Preston, 2 Sisters Food Group and Ann Savage, Bakkavor. See the full list of women business leaders taking part in the beehive build below.

Preston commented on 2 Sisters Food Group’s website​: “I know that there will be many differences between my life and those of people in Tanzania but underneath I feel that people are the same. They want to improve their lives and their children’s future. It’s about building something sustainable, supporting people’s livelihoods. 

“This is a forest project and I am a massive supporter of trying to stop deforestation. Having been brought up on a small family dairy farm in Devon, I am used to rural life and hope my hands-on experience there will stand me in good stead when it comes to building the bee hives. Of course, I am expecting blisters and broken nails, but that’s a small price to pay for taking part in such an exciting challenge.”

The beehive team is also hoping to raise £50,000 to support Farm Africa. To make a contribution, click here​.

In addition to honey production, other long-term projects in the area included: mushroom growing and raffia weaving.

The business leaders beehive team

  • Lorraine Hendle, William Reed Business Media
  • April Preston, 2 Sisters Food Group
  • Ann Savage, Bakkavor
  • Judith Batechelar, Sainsbury
  • Kate Ewart, Tesco
  • Rachel Griffiths, Moy Park
  • Vivienne Harris, ABP Food Group
  • Susie McIntyre, Kettle Produce
  • Marnie Millard, Nichols

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