•Ngilu has ordered registration of all beekeepers in the county
• Kitui has the potential to produce 400 metric tonnes of honey annually
Kitui county government is embarking on a programme to ensure that more than 5000 beekeepers in the county reap the full benefits of the multi-million industry.
Research has shown that a properly managed honey industry in Kitui County, could produce 400 metric tonnes of honey annually which would conservatively translate to cumulative earning of Sh. 80 million for the beekeepers.
Governor Charity Ngilu has thus ordered the registration of all beekeepers in the county for immediate training on harvesting and handling of honey.
In a statement from Ngilu on Sunday, Ngilu said it has dawned on her that Kitui beekeepers were not reaping optimum benefits from their honey.
She said that for lack of knowledge on the suitable honey refining techniques and facilities coupled with lack of a reliable and direct market, Kitui beekeepers remained paupers in the midst of plenty.
“I visited Athi ward and realized that many beekeepers have a lot of honey but they languish for lack of a market for their honey and the right honey processing skills. I want them to be trained on how to produce high-grade honey. We will also buy refining machines for them,” said Ngilu.
She said the idea was to see to it that high-quality Kitui honey would not only be easily accepted in the local Kenyans market but also internationally.
“From Monday morning, I want them (beekeepers) to register and also give a projection on the amount of honey they produce. Village administrators should register all honey producers in their areas so that they could be given ideal training,” said Ngilu.
The value chain adviser in the Office of the Governor Temi Mutia said the training programme which will be done in phases is meant to ensure that Kitui people engage in profitable beekeeping practices. “The idea is to commercialize beekeeping for sustainable livelihood,” said Temi on Sunday.
He lamented that beekeepers have been producing honey in a disjointed, haphazard and uncoordinated way which gave them little monetary benefit.
“Honey is a natural resource that has the potential of turning around lives. It came to make the poor beekeepers very affluent is handled in a structured way,” he said.