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USAID gives Masalani farmers beehives

The County Department of Livestock has stepped up efforts to transform bee keeping among small-holder farmers into a commercially viable venture with the commissioning of a 90 beehive capacity apiary in Masalani.

The initiative supported by USAID funded Livestock Marketing Systems (LMS) is meant to help local small-holder farmers shift into commercial honey production and create an alternative source of income for themselves.

The new apiary has been set up by members of the 90 – member strong Gumarey Honey Co-operative Society. Last month through their chairman Abdullahi Abdi, they received a donation of beehives and honey harvesting equipment from LMS.

“With the frequency of drought cycles and the intensity of the drought, pure pastoralism in the coming years will be unsustainable. We want to encourage our pastoralists to find alternative sources of income to cushion them especially when they lose their animals to drought,” Abdullahi said.

The co-operative members also received first hand apiary management advice from Mr. Abdirahim Haji, a pioneer commercial bee farmer in the county and who runs Felayi Honey Farm in Balich.

He urged the members to work hard and ensure the beehive keeping becomes a success noting that when done properly, the venture is lucrative.

“One beehive can produce 52 kilos of honey with one kilo of honey going for Sh.900. You have 90 bee hives which with time you will be harvesting every two weeks. How much you want to earn, is up to the efforts you put in now,” he said.

Deputy Director for cooperatives Siyat Onle congratulated the co-operative on the milestone and called on more youths and women in the county to come together and try their hand in bee keeping saying it had multiple benefits.

He appreciated the input of the training and capacity building by LMS to the local co-operatives while acknowledging their immense support on livelihood- related activities that are meant to uplift the welfare of the vulnerable communities in the county.

By Erick Kyalo

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