In a move intended to cushion the Ogiek community from the effects of climate change, Uasin Gishu County government has partnered with World Bank to empower the marginalized community living in Singalo forest by providing them with 1500 beehives.
Kenya Climate-Smart Agriculture Project county coordinator, Cosmas Langat said they chose to engage the Ogiek Community living in Tarakwa Ward because they were traditionally beekeepers.
“This project, Ogiek Consortium Honey Productivity, targets to improve agricultural productivity and resilience to climate change,” he said.
“We understand that climate change is becoming a threat to farmers; therefore, the need for projects like this that seek to cushion the farmer from its impact is becoming ever critical,” Langat added.
The project will be undertaken in three phases; in the first phase, the farmers will receive the beehives, and in the second phase they will be provided with honey harvesting and processing equipment such as bee suits, smokers, and centrifugal honey extractors.
The third phase will involve building a honey processing plant with the capacity to process 500kgs per day, explained the project coordinator.
“The whole project will cost close to Sh12 million with the World Bank providing Sh10m and the county government a further Sh2m,” Langat said.
He added that they expected to harvest over 60,000kgs of high-quality honey per year considering that the beehives would be located in an indigenous forest free from pollution.
According to Langat, wheat and maize is the main subsistence and cash crop in Uasin Gishu County, and they are only harvested once a year, making apiculture a sustainable alternative.
“Apart from creating a source of income for the farmers, this project also allows us to protect the indigenous forests in our county,” he said.
By Brian Kipkenei and Kiptanui Cherono