Social enterprise allows families in Zambia to make a living by harvesting honey

Here at the Optimist Daily, we praise and admire business ideas that come into being on grounds other than just making a profit.

Take, for example, Martin Zuch – who, after discovering his spiritual side 10 years ago, decided to leave his job as a hedge fund manager and start a honey-making social enterprise in Zambia that has grown to provide more than 10,000 families with income.

After some initial bumps in the road, Mama Buci was born with the aim of producing high-quality honey in the virgin forests of Zambia. With a helping hand from a friend of his, Zuch installed top-bar beehives in trees across the bush, paying the families who owned the land to harvest the honey. Almost a decade on, they have managed to place about 90,000 beehives, impacting between 5,000 and 7,000 families.

A family might make between $50 and $200 a year, depending on the number of hives. That may not seem like a great sum, but in the region’s bush, the average earning can be as little as half a dollar a day, so the honey money allows their children to go to school, among other things.

Zuch said environmental concerns are also central to the project, explaining that lack of pesticides greatly increases the taste of the honey, enough of which is left in each hive to sustain production. 

Next, the social entrepreneur seeks to scale up the organization so that more families across the region could join in on the sweetness.

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