METGE’s peer assisted trainings in beekeeping benefit farmers

Mount Elgon Tree growing Enterprise (METGE), is not only encouraging tree planting which is our core activity, but we do also support farmers who are interested in beekeeping.

This is through knowledge sharing and training in best apiculture practices. It was for this reason that METGE organized a group exchange visit for beekeepers from Bumasifwa beekeeping Association, Bukama beekeepers, Masele beekeepers and Masaba Integrated Beekeepers Association all from Sironko District to Namiri Village in Bukonde Sub- county Mbale District.

The overall objective of the visit was to increase networking and share knowledge and practices among the beekeeping groups in the Mount Elgon sub region.

The specific objectives included (i) sharing knowledge and experiences on how to improve their livelihood and also benefit from planting and growing trees; and (ii) enhance peer to peer learning. Beekeeping thrives in areas that have a lot of forage and in addition bees play a big role in agriculture. They pollinate crops, increase yields, and give rise to a lucrative honey industry.

Many fruits, nuts, and vegetables require pollination by bees and other insects in order to yield fruit, and without pollinators these crops could all but disappear from grocery store shelves.

If farmers do not learn this knowledge, it is difficult to appreciate why beekeeping and tree planting are important activities. The visiting team converged at Mr. Mutwalibu Walude’s apiary in Namiri Village Bukonde Sub county Mbale District.

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 Participants learn how to do proper colony inspection.

The host farmer has over 50 beehives in his apiary which are all colonized and are yet to be harvested. According to Mr Rogers Wangoda from Masaba Integrated Beekeepers Association, they appreciate the training done by METGE.

“I admit the training has been beneficial because the results can now be seen. We are producing more honey because we are following the right procedures starting from site selection, hive installation and siting, fencing, apiary hygiene, apiary layout, colony division and unification, colonization among others and all these were taught to us by the expert,” Mr Wangoda says.

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Bees colonising a a beehive.

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 A bee farmer inspects a hive.

The farmers also discussed the different hive types, specifically they looked at how a KTB hive can be constructed with the correct specifications since the host farmer constructs these hives at his farm.

The bee farmers will continuously follow-up on the implementation of the acquired skills and share with rest of the members especially from the villages they hail from.