• Honey is high value and in great demand. Farmers can improve their livelihoods with honey sales.
• Starting out and maintaining the business is easy. Station hives i the right place and put out water for the bees when it's very dry.
Residents of Losogwa village in Laikipia county have been urged to adopt beekeeping to increase family income.
“The current Kenyan economy needs us to have multiple sources of income to sustain livelihoods. I urge you to adopt bee farming to supplement other sources of income," agronomist Joseph Kiarie said.
He was meeting with Losogwa village residents in Nyahururu.
"This is because honey is in great demand in our country and selling it can bring funds to support our families.”
He urged residents to keep a few beehives on their farms, noting bees both produce honey for sale and act as critical pollinators of plants and crops. They contribute to a genetically diverse ecosystem and food security, Kiarie said.
He said beekeeping is easy to start and maintain. Not much is required from farmers except setting up water points around hives during dry seasons and ensuring the hives are well stationed.
Farmers only only require a bee hive. For example, a Langstroth hive goes for Sh4,000 and yields an average of 35kg honey per harvest.
Bees are easy to maintain as keepers must provide them with water during the extremely dry season, the agronomist said.
Farmer Kenneth Wachira from Igwamiti ward said he started beekeeping in 2016 to protect his orchard from thieves. He then developed a business by selling the honey.
To meet demand, he had to add nine more hives as he had started with only three.
“I reared bees in my orchard to keep thieves away. Later, I realised the high demand for honey and added more hives, Wachira said.
He said proceeds from the honey caters for all beekeeping expenses and he is left with a handsome profit that improves his standard of living.
“I sell to homes and several supermarkets in Nyahururu town. My customers use it to sweeten food like chapati and rice, and also as a traditional medicine for allergies, colds and measles in infants,” Wachira said.
He said for beekeepers to maximise profit they should harvest, process and package the honey themselves as packed honey is more xpensive than unprocessed honey.
(Edited by V. Graham)