Ruaha Farm (T) Ltd: Engaging Local Beekeeping Communities in Tanzania
(8 pages of text)
The chief executive officer of Ruaha Farm (T) Ltd (Ruaha Farm), in Iringa, Tanzania, established his honey business, in 2012. The company’s business model relied on the engagement and empowerment of neighbouring communities of low-income beekeepers, creating mutually beneficial relationships with local beekeeping communities in the Iringa region. The business model was unique, asset-light, and scalable. In contrast with an integrated business model in beekeeping, where a company typically owned all assets (land, beehives, processing machinery, and routes to market), Ruaha Farm not only commercialized the honey from its own farms but also reached out to all beekeepers in the region to support them in the production and collection of their honey. By 2019, amid the challenges of managing the company’s relationship with the beekeeper communities, the chief executive officer had to consider how to increase Ruaha Farm’s annual production volume from 10 to 100 tons in five years.
The case is suitable for undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in social entrepreneurship, business model innovation, open innovation, and business ecosystems. After working through the case and assignment students will be able to
- analyze the benefits and challenges of community engagement (ecosystem management) in economic activities, specifically in the beekeeping business;
- understand the specific problems of low-income farmers in rural areas in developing countries;
- speculate or predict how an entrepreneur or a company could leverage the assets and manpower in local communities;
- examine the role of access to markets in building credibility and success within beekeeper communities; and
- elaborate or modify the role of fair management practices and trust building in community-based business models.
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Tanzania, Small, 2019
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