Justine Muhereza

Tell us about yourself

My name is Justine Muhereza and I live in Mukombe village. I am a farmer and I grow bananas and coffee. For three years now, I’ve been keeping bees. When I started beekeeping, I was just doing it on my own using traditional bee hives and when the Producers Direct team came to offer beekeeping training, I was interested to learn more and how I can make money from it as a business. From the training, I learned a lot and now I even train other bee farmers on best beekeeping practices.

How has your beekeeping journey been so far?

We started a beekeeping project with other beekeepers from around my village. One thing motivating for us is knowing that we will have a market where we can take our honey after harvesting. Like I mentioned, I have been keeping bees for a while now, and some of the profit I’ve made from selling honey has helped to pay school fees for my children. Now because we have a ready market, and with these modern beehives plus the knowledge I have now, I know I’ll make even more profit from this enterprise.

I started with 8 traditional beehives and then I received a loan from Producers Direct in the form of 15 modern beehives to add to the traditional hives that I already had.

How does beekeeping compare with other enterprises especially when you think about the time it takes when starting out?

Beekeeping requires less time to start up when compared to banana farming and coffee farming. Banana farming for example requires digging the banana holes, finding the required materials for planting and other additional activities like weeding. Beekeeping on the other hand doesn’t need all of that, once the hives are set up we leave them to get colonised, regularly checking to ensure everything is going well, which gives me time to tend to my coffee and banana farms.

As a beekeeper, what challenges have you encountered?

Sometimes bees just abandon their hives and there’s nothing I can do about that and you know when that happens, it means no honey is being produced in those hives.

The other challenge we used to have was finding people to help with harvesting honey. Because there weren’t many, it meant that harvesting would take a lot of time. But now we’ve been assured that we will have harvesting equipment like the extractor which will help make the harvesting process faster and we will not need to hire many people for that like we used to during previous harvests. I am also looking forward to harvesting honey from these new modern hives because as I said, I know we have a ready market where I can take my honey.

What future plans and aspirations do you have for your beekeeping enterprise?  

In three to five years, I want to have more than 200 bee hives. I want to be able to pack my honey and sell it to cooperatives. I want my bee enterprise to boost my banana and coffee farming businesses and educate my children. So, I am requesting that we continue to get more support so that we can buy more hives, and then I can use the profits from beekeeping to help grow our other farming enterprises. 

At the moment, some of the money I get from selling honey goes to pay for school fees for my children and I also use part of it to buy manure and mulches for my coffee and banana farms, so I know that by buying more beehives and through learning from training, I will expand my beekeeping business and the profits I make will help grow my other agriculture enterprises.


I have been working as a youth agent in Puerta Pulache in Peru since December 2021 and I‘m also a student, doing an undergraduate degree in Agriculture Business Management. I did not have any work experience before I started working as a youth agent, so when I got the opportunity to work with the women in my community, I was excited because I knew I would have a chance to apply what I’ve been learning in school, and at the same time, being a part of this vegetable project will help me to meet some of my course requirements.

My work is to support the women in my community to have high-quality products and to find a market for their goods. Together with my fellow youth agents, we do this by ensuring that the seeds the women use are of good quality and without pests or diseases. We also support the farmers by finding a market for their produce and help with any other logistics needed to enable them sell products at the best price. As youth agents, we work together with the smallholder farmers by training them on how they can make use of the digital app to sell their products to customers beyond our community. The digital app is one of the tools we use that allows them to access the training and also to access markets. With the digital app, the female farmers can aggregate their surplus produce and then as a group, they can connect with potential buyers.

The vegetable project is an opportunity for women in my community to provide for their families and I am glad that many of them now have a way to earn an income through farming.

But the communities around us do not give us a lot of support, because of this, many women do not consider this project as a potential way for them to make money. Our other challenge is that many women do not have access to the digital tools that we use. Through conducting more training sessions, my fellow youth agents and I want to enable more women to access and use the digital app.

While it has been challenging to work throughout the pandemic, we’ve had to adapt and adjust how we work to keep the project going. When we couldn’t travel to vegetable farms that were too far, for fear of contracting the virus, we kept contact with the female farmers and monitored progress through phone calls and on WhatsApp to ensure that we followed the health and safety guidelines so that all of us would be protected. But now that the restrictions have been eased, I’m glad that we can visit more farms.



My greatest joy has been to see the progress made by some of the female producers. They have made profits from the project and we continue to see more women grow their incomes. And my greatest achievement so far has been to see farmers get a good harvest and also see their vegetables healthy and without any pests or diseases.

Going forward, my goal in the project is to continue to work with more female farmers and find more ways to motivate and encourage them to be part of the project. One of the ways I think we can do this is by conducting more training sessions where the women will get to learn more about the project and they’ll get to see why they need to join and be part of this network.

Anthea Ndyamuhaki

In a period of less than two years, my country has been through two lockdowns, each lasting more than two and a half months. Because of this, many families, careers and businesses really suffered.

Because of the covid-19 pandemic, I had to go on unpaid leave for two months. Life was difficult – the hotels that we supplied our agricultural produce to closed down, so we did not have a market for our products. I had to find a way to pay my bills. I have people depending on me, so I had to find a way for all of us to survive.

My family and friends were supportive, but I knew I couldn’t fully depend on them to take care of all my needs. I first began by cutting back on expenses. For example, we stopped hiring labour for activities that we could do in our garden, and we found alternative markets for our produce just within our neighbourhood. I also learned to make liquid soap from a colleague of mine, and we sold the soap, which was on demand, to customers.

I enrolled at a colleague’s for homemade liquid soap making during that time. We started making, we branded and started selling and this surely has since yielded well because the demand was good. I appreciate every little thing that we did then to keep us going through the difficult times, because what we did then still counts today.
As a youth agent and farmer at Kayonza Growers Tea Factory, I have been working to ensure that farmers are always updated on any new and relevant information that will help them grow their agribusinesses especially during the pandemic. For example, we reach farmers in their homes and in the tea collection centres, by sharing posters containing information on how they can still manage their tea farms and grow their businesses despite the pandemic. And we plan to continue to work together with the tea farmers in Kayonza throughout the pandemic.

Rosario Salas

Rosario Salas is Q Grader and in charge of quality in Huadquiña producer organisation in Cusco, Peru. After finishing school, she studied food industries in Universidad Nacional Agraria de la Selva. Then, Huadquiña producer organisation supported her to obtain her Q grader certificate and hired her to supervise coffee quality for exportation. Rosario’s case is a good example of how young people can be engaged in agriculture in their communities by the creation of challenging jobs.

“I am happy that the Huadquiña cooperative has given me the opportunity to work and now I am contributing to the development of my community in Santa Teresa, Cusco” 


For more information about Rosario and how our work is contributing to the challenges of youth employment in Peru, please read this blog article here.

Niwahereza Abias

Niwahereza Abias is  youth sales agent from the Youth Innovation Hub, Kayonza Growers Tea Factory Centre of Excellence. He initially worked as a youth agent in data collection, working with the promoter farmers to collect information in support of our farmer-led data system. Now he is acting as a sales agent earning a commission on the weekly sales of produce’ collected from farmers across the region.

“This has helped me in so many ways as I have been able to increase my income; with this commission I was able to start my own piggery farm that is growing to a bigger project.”

Niwahereza has also been able to gain experience in identifying market opportunities and learning how to negotiate prices to the satisfaction of all parties.  Furthermore, his experience working directly with farmers has allowed him to acquire new farming skills and techniques from experienced farmers that have help him improve his farming practices.

“My work as a youth agent  has inspired me to invest in farming as a business and I’ve also created a strong network with farmers and different organizations that I supply the produce to, hence trust, recognition, convenience, and transparency is ensured.”


Peter has a 3 acre tea farm at at Sireet-OEP in Nandi Hills, Kenya. As part of the Centre of Excellence Peter has been supported to diversify his income by introducing new crops and establishing them as additional enterprises on his farm.

Training: Initially, Peter was supported to access training and information services to establish tissue-culture banana and beekeeping enterprises on his farm.

Finance: In 2018, Peter received a $1,300 loan from the ROTA fund to purchase the inputs and launch his banana and honey enterprises.

Data: Peter has been collecting records and has a weather station on his farm, enabling him to correlate productivity, weather and income data.

Market Access: Youth coordinators have helped to create links to local markets, and they transport and sell Peter’s bananas and honey for him.

Peter has now been able to pay back his entire ROTA fund loan and his honey and banana enterprises have increased his overall income by 62%. With the new co-branded products being launched in 2019, Peter hopes to invest in additional beehives and sell even more honey.