Beekeeping project

ACBF launched the beekeeping project for the farmers of Kabwoya Sub County in December 2020, when a first workshop of one week was organized and more than 20 beekeeping farmers attended.

What are the objectives?

The project has the objective to empower local farmers with sustainable skills in beekeeping and selling of honey products, as a way of addressing rural poverty and deforestation for the benefit of conservation of Bugoma forest. The project organizes the farmers in a beekeeping group, provides expertise and equipment to them and sets targets for production and market. In this way, local farmers will be able to change their beekeeping practices from traditional subsistence beekeeping to more productive practices. Finally, the project intends to develop a small public honey processing plant to serve farmers of Kikuube District and to add value in the selling price.

Why the beekeeping project?

In Kabwoya Sub-county, in the neighbouring areas of Bugoma Forest, 98% of households rely on agriculture as their primary livelihood occupation of which 79% is in subsistence agriculture. In addition to that, the farmers living in the buffer zones areas of the project lack leadership in agricultural good practices and agroforestry, which could better manage the co-existence between forest habitat and agriculture in buffer zones and improve livelihood. Many farmers in recent years are embracing the cultivation of sugar cane as viable commercial agriculture, often reducing the amount of food crops and changing the landscape in the region, since sugar cane is a very destructive crop and not friendly for the presence of wildlife.

In particular, after studying the area and exchanging information with the leaders of Kikuube Farmers Association (Kasfa), it was resolved that beekeeping could bring benefits for the farmers and for the environment. Not only does the practice of beekeeping have intrinsic health benefits through providing a food source of great nutritional value which is lacking in rural areas, but beekeeping requires few inputs and capitalizes on a ready supply of pollen. In rural areas especially forested areas, there is almost an unlimited source of pollen and bees aid greatly in the natural cross pollination of local crops. Health benefits for local people reliant on small agriculture to provide food are centered on the enriching qualities of honey in a diet which is usually dependent upon staple foods such as bananas and maize. Also beekeeping can be a reliable commercial activity due to the high market of honey and wax products like candles.

There are a number of beekeeping farmers in the area of Kabwoya Sub County, but they lack extension services, support and market for the produce. Most of them use traditional beekeeping practices that do not give much production and at the same time they lack finances and skills to change this system. The intervention of ACBF intends to address all these aspects, acting as a sort of local farmers’ cooperative for beekeepers in the area.

The area of the project

The area of the project is Kabwoya Sub County with all the Parishes and villages. The areas are all surrounding Bugoma Forest reserve. The selection of the farmers participating in the project was made in partnership with Kikuube District Farmers Association (KASFA), which identified beekeepers and farmers interested in beekeeping in all the sub county.

How this project works

ACBF chose to partner with the local organization Kikuube District Farmers Association (KASFA), as the best approach for a sustainable intervention, which benefits farmers and conservation.

The project therefore intends to:

  • train a number of farmers in beekeeping best practices;
  • avail the necessary basic beekeeping equipment, that suits the needs;
  • start a small honey processing plant which will provide ready market for farmers and higher value addition fair prices.

The project started by organizing a workshop in collaboration with an enterprise expert in beekeeping in December 2020 and a number of about 25 farmers’ / beekeeping households attended. Thereafter, a group of beekeepers was created under the supervision of ACBF, which along the years provided communication, coordination, advisory to farmers and collection of the harvested honey at a fair price.

By April 2022 a honey harvesting demonstration workshop was attended by 17 beekeeping households, who confirmed their membership to the ACBF group. A beekeeping equipment store is available at Bugoma Jungle Lodge with the possibility to purchase and hire various items at a subsidized fee for the members, from the Kenya Top Bar beehives to bee suits and other equipment.

During the harvesting season of 2022, it is estimated that an amount of about 400 kg of honey will be available from the group and for the first time this honey will be commercialized as a “social enterprise” as “Bugoma Honey” by ACBF in collaboration with Jungle Taste.

Why to donate to the beekeeping project

The beekeeping project needs the support from private donors because ACBF is providing activities of training, workshops and coordination of the farmers group. Secondly, the project provides relevant beekeeping equipment (like the Kenya Top Bar beehives) at a subsidized fee which encourages farmers to acquire all the necessary requirements for improving the productivity. Finally, ACBF intends to raise funds to start a small public honey processing plant to service farmers, the first available in Kikuube District.