West Africa Trade & Investment Hub Co-Invests with Koster Keunen to Improve Smallholder Beekeeping

Enhancing Two-Way Trade and Investment Under Prosper Africa

December 21, 2020

The USAID-funded West Africa Trade & Investment Hub has announced a co-investment partnership with Koster Keunen, a leading natural waxes company, that will support West African smallholder farmers by organizing and improving beeswax supply chains from the region. The partnership, which promotes the goals of the U.S. Government’s Prosper Africa initiative to increase two-way trade and investment, will increase the value of exports to the United States by over $8 million, improve the beekeeping practices of  11,200 smallholder farmers, and create  1200 new jobs across West Africa.

“Our partnership with Koster Keunen is a welcome development for us in our effort to catalyze private sector investments in West Africa. By organizing beekeeping activities for smallholders, our partner can transform the beeswax supply chain so that it elevates the farmers and is profitable for businesses,” says the Trade Hub’s Chief of Party, Michael Clements.

Beekeeping can be a profitable enterprise for African smallholder farmers by diversifying and sustaining incomes, even when other farming activities are affected by drought. Pollination from beehives can also increase crop yields up to 30%, such as shea or cashew, within a two to three-kilometer radius. Despite these benefits, formal beekeeping has not developed at a large-scale in West Africa. Lack of equipment, training, technology, and the establishment of sustainable market linkages have prevented larger investments in bolstering the value chain.

Thanks to the experience provided by Koster Keunen, the co-investment will tackle these challenges and enter new markets and communities with their expertise. Koster Keunen will receive a grant of almost $2 million to organize a West African beekeeping supply chain that meets international standards for honey and beeswax. The company will introduce beekeeping activities as a secondary revenue source to  1,200 new farmers, who predominantly farm cashews, and upgrade 10,000 existing farms. Through its grant, the firm will provide equipment, training, and new technologies, and will facilitate certifications for smallholders in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Togo.

“We want to have a long-term commitment to the beekeeper and to show them that this is an activity that can be professional, and they can make recurrent income,” says Sylvain Cattin, Koster Keunen’s General Manager for West Africa. “But to do it the right way… to respect the environment, the bee colony.”

The co-investment is made possible thanks to Prosper Africa, the U.S. Government initiative to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa. Through their partnership with the Trade Hub, Koster Keunen will expand business operations to export premium products to the United States while also supporting smallholder farmers in West Africa.

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About West Africa Trade & Investment Hub: The West Africa Trade & Investment Hub (Trade Hub) is a USAID-funded initiative that catalyzes economic growth through co-investing with the private sector to generate new investment, create new jobs, and increase the value of regional and international exports in West Africa.

About USAID: The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the lead U.S. Government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable resilient, democratic societies to realize their potential.

About Prosper Africa: Prosper Africa is the U.S. Government initiative to substantially increase two-way trade and investment between the United States and Africa.

About Koster Keunen: Koster Keunen is one of the world’s leading processors, refiners and marketers of natural waxes. Since 1852, Koster Keunen has specialized in processing, formulating and marketing quality waxes to the cosmetic, pharmaceutical, candle and food industry.

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