METGE supports communities with alternative livelihood options in beekeeping products
Yetana Namisindwa Women Beekeeping Group receive beekeeping equipment from METGE with support from Size of Wales and the Welsh Government.
Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE) continues to support beekeeping farmers through capacity building to enable them to earn a living from beekeeping products as an economic activity.
Beekeeping reduces dependence on other economic activities that pose a threat to trees and habitat for wildlife, like logging. Not only do bees provide a source of income they also keep the trees and crops healthy as natural pollinators. This is particularly important for fruit trees.
Ms Betty Watsemba learns how to clean a beehive as a demonstration to always keep the beehive clean as Mr Emma Bwayo the District Youth Counselor Namisindwa District (extreme left) and Mr Kamende Godmercy Assistant Project Officer, Beekeeping (Second left) and other group members look on.
Beekeeping groups in Bugisu sub-region have recently got support from METGE, in terms of beehives, bee suits amongst other equipment to be in position to have demonstration kits on how they can generate and harvest honey.
The beneficiary groups are 16 in total. The groups continue to benefit from training by METGE done by the beekeeping project officer on an invitation basis to groups that have taken on beekeeping as a livelihood activity to improve on their income. Among these is Namisindwa Yetana Women Beekeeping Group from Namisindwa District, Bupoto Village.
According to the Chairperson Ms Betty Watsemba …”the group is comprised of 30 members who come together for beekeeping and to produce honey. The proceeds after selling the honey are saved and shared by group members depending on their level of participation.
“The group members meet to share profits as this is a joint effort which involves inspecting the hives, cleaning them until they get colonised for the bees to make honey,” Ms Watsemba says.
L-R: Bwikhonje Agro Beekeepers and Kolonyi Mixed Farmers Beekeeping Group among other gropus receive
beekeeping equipment from METGE with support from Size of Wales and the Welsh Government.
She adds, “We were using basic knowledge to do beekeeping. But with capacity building training from METGE we now have more hives being colonised and we are optimistic that come the next season they will harvest more honey”.
“The honey we used to get was for only household use and we had little to sell. But as a group we have utilized the knowledge we got from the METGE team through the training and we can now report that most of our beehives are colonised and come next harvest season, we are optimistic for more harvest of honey. We anticipate harvesting about 80kgs,” Ms Watsemba says.
She adds,“ Above all, we are grateful to Bungokho Rural Development Centre one of METGE’s Implementing Partners which has been in position to give us free trees. We did not know that growing trees around our apiary such as Calliandra would be of great importance. Calliandra trees provide excellent bee forage; this is an additional benefit to honey production in large quantities which we can now sell for a living to meet other basic needs in our homes”.
According to the Chairman of Bupoto Village, Mr Waukha Kaudi, beekeeping has helped the people in his community to diversify their income generating activities and fight poverty at the household levels.
Mr Godmercy Kamende Assistant Project Officer, Beekeeping demonstrates to the bee farmers how a bee suit should be used.
“When people have various activities from which they can earn some money, challenges of affording basic needs would not be a problem in communities. We do not take this capacity building about this economic activity by METGE for granted. Our people have now started producing honey for sale only that there is need to teach them how they can now add value to this honey such as proper packaging to meet high demand in the market,” Mr Waukha says.