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Ngilu to train farmers in bee keeping

The  Kitui  county government will support farmers undertaking bee keeping in order to improve honey production.

Accordingly, the  County Governor, Charity  Ngilu further urged the bee keepers across the county to register for immediate  training on harvesting and handling of honey.

Addressing  farmers from Mwingi Central Sub County in Mwingi town on Wednesday, Ngilu said it had come to her attention  that beekeepers were not reaping maximum benefits from their honey.

“I recently visited Athi ward in Kitui south constituency and realized that many beekeepers have a lot of honey but they languish in poverty for lack of a market for their product and the right processing skills. I want them to be trained on how to produce high grade honey. We will also buy honey refining machines for them.

I want  all  beekeepers to register and also give a projection on the amount of honey they produce. Village administrators should register all honey producers in their areas so that we can have the data with us,” she said.

The  governor added that the idea is to ensure that high-quality honey from Kitui is not only in the local market but also internationally.

Meanwhile, bee-keeping in the country has been practiced traditionally for many years.

Apart  from honey, many other products can be obtained from the venture for example beeswax, pollen, propolis, bee venom, royal jelly and package bees, not forgetting that apiculture also enhances environmental conservation.

Bees  are  also  good  pollinators  of plants thus playing a big role in biodiversity and improvement of crop yields.

Lack  of  knowledge  on the  suitable honey refining techniques and facilities coupled with lack of a reliable and direct  market, has  seen Kitui beekeepers remain paupers in the midst of plenty.

James  Mutemi, who is a local bee farmer, said that he faces a lot challenges including lack of adequate skills on managing bees and handling hive products.

Research  has shown that a properly managed honey industry in Kitui County could produce 400 metric tonnes of the commodity annually, which would conservatively translate to cumulative earning of Sh.80 million for the beekeepers.

It  is  also important to note that 80 per cent of Kenya consists of arid and semi-arid lands (ASALs) which have high

potential to produce honey and apiculture is a major occupation in these areas.

By  Momanyi  Beavon

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