– Through bee keeping there is an opportunity for one to generate good money year round hence change in lifestyle
– The country’s flora leaks every flowering season with over 80% untapped nectar
– Due to poor bee keeping practice, Kenya lacks a healthy and good honey hence importing to cover the gap
Honey is five times more expensive than oil and its demand is increasing not only in Africa itself but all over the world.
Priced at between KSh500 and KSh 1,100 per kilogramme, in Kenya, its costs at least five times what a litre of petrol does, and in the Arab market, a jar of honey can fetch almost double this amount, according to statistics by Savannah Honey.
Since independence, Kenya has had deficit in honey production which leads to over 80% of honey processed in Kenya being imported from Tanzania.
As the world observed the World Bee Day on Tuesday, May 20, Savannah Honey said that Kenya has favourable ckimatic conditions for beekeeping like other leading honey producing countries like Ethiopia, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.
There is a shortage of honey and although Kenya has the potential to at least bridge part of it, little effort has been made in this direction.
“Bee-keeping in Kenya has been practiced traditionally for many years. However only 20% of the country’s honey production potential (estimated at 100,000 metric tonnes) has been tapped,” argued Evelyn Nguku, the Director of Research and Development at Savannah Honey
Many farmers in Kenya are yet to commercialize honey production as the sector is still regarded as a preserve of the poor. This has been the case while there is a huge market for the product in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
According to a survey by the firm, there is great potential for Kenyan bee farmers to make money as the country leaks every flowering season with over 80% untapped nectar.
It notes that farmers are also languishing in poverty due to lack of proper knowledge skills, modern hives and other essential tools vital for bee keeping.
It adds that bee keeping is a unique practice that works well with other farm practices since less time is needed on management and supervision.
Further, the firm says the country lies within the best climatic pattern year round which is excellent for bee keeping.
With farmers across the country having downed tools from non-profiting crop cultivation on harsh areas and looking for better and affordable ideas, bee keeping can be the next frontier.
To bridge this, Savannah Honey has been involved in empowering interested beekeepers for the last seven years by offering training on modern beekeeping, provision of langstroth beehives and other beekeeping equipment and management of the apiaries.
It also provides bees (Colony Division) and technical support as well as marketing of the honey.
The Langstroth beehive uses a multi-layered structure and removable frames to encourage bees to build their hives in an orderly fashion and make it easy for bee keepers to harvest honey.
The frames are designed to separate honeycombs as bees attach honeycombs to adjacent frames making it easier for bee keepers to manage the bees and honey collection effortlessly.
Savannah Honey has recruited over 4,000 farmers in East Africa and has recently launched a new programme targeting 7,000 farmers who may not necessarily have time or land for beekeeping but are interested in making money from modern beekeeping.
As the world discusses about bees, the firm advises farmers to seek assistance from such firms and says its clients, upon purchasing the beekeeping equipment will have Savannah honey managing the apiaries and the entire enterprise for them and buy the honey after the harvest.
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