Bee Keeping

  • Bee-keeping in Kenya has been practiced traditionally for many years.
  • However only 20% of the country’s honey production potential (estimated at 100,000 metric tonnes) has been tapped.
  • 80% of Kenya consists of arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) which have high potential in production of honey and apicultural activity is a major occupation in these areas due to the abundance of bee flora.
  • Non ASAL regions also practice beekeeping
  • Modern bee-keeping in Kenya started towards the end of 1960s and has since become an important enterprise in the livestock sub-sector.
  • 80% of the honey comes from the traditional log hive.
  • However, a reasonable amount of hive products is obtained from Kenya Top Bar and Langstroth hives

NEED FOR BEE-KEEPING

  • Bee farming is a rewarding and enjoyable occupation with many benefits. It has a number of advantages over other farm enterprises;
  • Requires little land (50 colonies require a ¼ acre ) which does not have to be fertile
  • Honey is a source of non-perishable food
  • Capital investment is low compared to other farm enterprises
  • Bee-keeping or bee farming is cheap and relatively not competitive to other Agricultural enterprises i.e. does not compete for resources
  • Labour required is low.
  • Many products can be obtained which are great source of income i.e. honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, bee venom, royal jelly, bee colonies, bee brood, queen bees, and package bees.
  • Encourages environmental conservation.
  • Bees are good pollinators of plants, trees, fruits and crops, thus playing a big role in bio-diversity and improvement of crop yields
  • The therapeutic value of most hive products provide remedy for a number of ailments (Apitherapy)

MAIN CHALLENGES IN PRODUCTION OF HONEY

  • The farmers lack adequate skills on managing bees and handling hive products.
  • Inadequate training for both farmers and extension staff.
  • Limited   access to appropriate bee-keeping equipment.
  • An underdeveloped marketing system of hive products both locally and internationally due to problems of quality and marketing organisations.
  • Lack of adequate and intense research on of the existing bee-keeping technologies, equipment, honey bee and product utilisation.
  • Low prioritization of bee-keeping in relation to other enterprises in the wider Agricultural sector.

POLICY ON APICULTURE

  • The current policy on Apiculture is broadly to develop a modern bee-keeping industry in the country to provide additional income to rural households.
  • The Policy paper on apiculture is still on the draft proposal stage

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