Turkana County Government through the Departments of Livestock Production and Technical Vocational Education Training and Feed the Future Livestock Market Systems (LMS) have prioritized expanding and diversifying the bee farming in Turkana as an alternative livelihood in public institutions across all the vocational training Centres Countywide.
Speaking during a stakeholders meeting to review the progress of bee production and management, Director, Technical Vocational Educational Training Centres, Director Stephen Eregae said the bee production and management skills incorporated for the first time in the training at Lodwar Vocational Centre is a new concept that the Institution is considering as an income generating activity for both the trainees and the institution.
“We are liaising with University of Eldoret to consider including bee production and management in the curriculum as one of the training courses at Turkana Technical Vocation Education Training Centres. This seeks to build County’s resilience through expanded and viable economic opportunities as such,” he said.
Eregae said cordial relations that County Government has with LMS in the bee keeping sector has helped increase enrollment at the centre, adding that it has brought more life to the once dormant carpentry section in the institution as many trainees are picking a lot of interest as compared to other sections.
In diversifying livelihood not only at Technical Institutions but across the County, LMS Programme Manager, Humphrey Dianga says he facilitated apiculture training in Lokiriama, Loima Sub-county, and purchased beehives equipment to a bee farmers in Turkwel.
The LMS offered Scholarship, Dianga said, to 10 County Staff on apiculture at Baraka Agricultural College to build capacity in a bid to increase extension services to the many bee-keeping cooperatives coming up as result of the initiative.
Further, the Programme Manager said, in joint collaboration with Turkana County, Digital Farmers Kenya (DFK) and Blossom have supported training of ‘Skill for Life’ institution’s tutors and students from Lokichar, Lokori, Lodwar, Lorugum, Kalokol and Lokichogio on production of apiculture tools.
After the training, Dianga added students have produced beehives, catcher boxes, solar wax melters, bee brushes, hive tools, smokers, conical sieves, beekeeper suits at Lodwar Vocational Training centre, an idea which he says, should be replicated in other Centres across board.
In efforts to enhance apiculture development in the County, Dianga revealed that his organization together with GIZ supported in the translation of community bee keeping training manual from English to a simplified Swahili version.
The Livestock Production Directorate has called for partners to support the County government to exploit untapped potential in apiculture sector.
Representatives from Livestock production, Veterinary Services, IRC, World Vision, Tupado, NAGRIP, ASDSP, Safcone and Bossom Extracts were present.
By Peter Gitonga