Mrs Miriam Chebaari grew up battling tonsillitis. Sometimes, her condition was so bad that her tongue would swell and fill her mouth, affecting her speech. Her father, then a bee farmer, would make her drink honey mixed with warm water. Then she would feel better. That is how her love for honey started.
After a stint in teaching profession, she quit and started researching on bee keeping. She even enrolled at Baraka Agricultural College to boost her bee-keeping skills and knowledge. Afterwards, she started Tharaka Honey Bee Products, a company that specialises in production of a variety of bee products.
It was a humble beginning in 2006. “I still remember my humble beginning like it was yesterday. My husband gave me Sh10,000 and that’s all I needed to start my bee-keeping business,” recalls Ms Chebaari.
With the Sh10,000, she bought the first 100 jars of 500 grams of honey from suppliers in Tharaka Nithi. A year later, she turned a truck into a mobile shop. She even set up a processing plant at the Nakuru showground where she packed and labelled the honey she bought from her suppliers. But her business nearly plunged during the 2007 post-election violence when the factory was turned into a haven for residents who were displaced.
She fled to Nairobi’s Kahawa Sukari estate where she converted her garage into a honey processing plant.
It was tough, she says.
“Tharaka Honey was doing so well in Nakuru. When we were displaced, I had to convert my garage into a factory and my living room where I packed the honey,” says Ms Chebaari…..Courtesy Of Standard Media