Bee My Honey!

 

Yes, I know, a corny title but it got your attention didn’t it?

It’s an introduction to our latest income generating initiative of bringing a viable business to the villages in northern Uganda.

Beekeeping!

KTB hives loaded on car and ready for the village. We actually had a swarm of bees colonize a hive while we were packing for the village.

Kenya Top Bar (KTB) hives loaded on car and ready for the village. We actually had a swarm of bees colonize a hive while we were packing for the village.

A few months ago a group in one of the villages we work in approach us about bringing them a project. This is a SACCO (savings and loan) group of about 40 people. They meet weekly and each make small deposits which they pool to allow a member to take a loan. When that loan is paid then another member is able to take a loan. The interest that is repaid allows the loan bank to grow, thus allowing more loans. These folks have been waiting for an opportunity to begin or participate in a project. They are really excited about the beekeeping prospects.

One of our planning meetings.

One of our planning meetings.

We decided to work with them in developing a beekeeping project. We have proposed a 5-year program that would assist the group in establishing a modern beekeeping operation, expanding it yearly for the following 4 years. After year 5 the group would take full operation of the program and should have a viable income generating business. The profits they can make from this business can then be used to invest in other businesses.

In April they elected a beekeeping committee and we started on building a bee apiary with an initial 10 Kenyan Top Hives (KTB) installed and 5 catch boxes that are being used to transfer bees to the new hives. A chain link fence has been installed to protect the apiary as cattle likes to graze in the location we choose for the Apiary. We have planted flowers and trees to provide future food sources for the bees.

We are ready to begin our work

We are ready to begin our work

Constructing our Apiary where there will be shade and water will be close by.

Constructing our Apiary where there will be shade and water will be close by.

Constructing a shelter to provide plenty of shade and protection from rain.

Constructing a shelter to provide plenty of shade and protection from rain.

 

A natural thatch roof provides a cool and protecting roof.

A natural thatch roof provides a cool and protecting roof.

This was our live hive. Unfortunately, the bees absconded shortly after the hive was placed in the Apiary.

This was our live hive. Unfortunately, the bees absconded shortly after the hive was placed in the Apiary.

We planted some tree seedlings and some flowering plants.

We planted some tree seedlings and some flowering plants.

A stream nearby will provide a good water source for the bees

A stream nearby will provide a good water source for the bees

Meet Mandy, my pup. She was supervising the construction.

Meet Mandy, my pup. She was supervising the construction.

Last November we sent our associate, Jimmy Odongo to Kampala for beekeeping training. He has now been transferring that information to the group and everyone is being trained in beekeeping with modern hives. Once we have some active hives we will bring up some professionals from Kampala to do more intensive training.

Jimmy has been providing training on beekeeping with modern hives.

Jimmy has been providing training on beekeeping with modern hives.

 

This is a traditional hive which bees like to favour however extracting the honey can be difficult.

This is a traditional hive which bees like to favour, however, extracting the honey can be difficult.

        Uganda produces some of the world’s best honey and there’s not only income in honey production but in the by-products, such as wax and propolis. One of the best things about beekeeping as a business is that it’s a business anyone can manage, men, women, old and young.

In Uganda, honey production potential is enormous, estimated at 500,000 metric tones per year, but this potential has not yet been fully exploited. The Ugandan Beekeepers Association estimates that only between 800-1200 metric tonnes of honey is produced per year due to current lack of bee-stock.

Traditional methods of bee keeping are still predominant in Uganda where it remains an important seasonal activity in many regions. Rural people have a good knowledge of bees, plants and places favored by bees but hives are usually destroyed and colonies often killed in the process of collecting honey.

Despite the diversity of vegetation suitable for bees in the region, a shortage of bees means that beekeepers are dependent on collecting swarming bee stock. The current shortage is also limiting production of honey and by-products for which there is considerable potential. (http://www.africa-uganda-business-travel-guide.com/ugandahoneybeekeeping.html#AboutHoneyBeeKeepinginUganda)

This is where we are currently, trying to colonize our hives.

catcher-box

We’ve installed catcher boxes (a smaller version of the KTB hive) throughout the village to assist in catching a swarm.

Now all we need are bees!

Now all we need are bees!

Please pray with us that our hives will soon be colonised and this beekeeping group will soon be in the honey production.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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