Apiculture IN UGANDA

The world market for natural honey reached US$2.1 billion in 2017(UN comtrade) and the top five importing countries are USA, German, Japan, France and UK respectively. Uganda’s exports of natural honey stood at a mere US$4 thousand in the same year exported mainly to Oman and Rwanda.

The country also imported natural honey worth US$ 101 thousand from UAE, Egypt, Kenya and Tanzania. It’s therefore clear that domestic demand and export demand for natural honey is too huge to match the current production in Uganda at large. Investing in bee keeping will go a long way in addressing the above demand gap and generate foreign exchange earnings.

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Beekeeping provides an opportunity for food, employment, poverty alleviation, environmental conservation and export earnings. It requires low investment and can be undertaken by the vulnerable (women, youths, disabled and elderly). Its main products: honey and brood are a source of carbohydrate and protein. Pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries use beekeeping products: honey, propolis, royal jelly, bee venom and beeswax. Bees are the main pollinators for coffee, tea, cotton, oil seeds, maize, mangoes, oranges, beans and spices. The market for bee products are available locally and international. In 2005, Uganda was licensed to export honey to European Union (EU).

In 2019, TRIDI continued to promote the commercialization of various technologies and innovations in Beekeeping. The motivation to start investing in Beekeeping was to transform the mindset of those who tend to perceive beekeeping as ‘a hobby’, or as ‘a sideline activity’ to investing in Apiculture as a means of building a resilient livelihood. It is a field that can significantly keep people out of poverty and has access to range of options yet the investment is relatively low. It can create several jobs across the value chain. TRIDI has established mechanisms to collect data on Apiculture to inform investment into apiculture for rural development, Job creation and poverty eradication. Apiculture is being developed for pollination of food crops and ecological services and for all the marketable primary bee products of beekeeping which include honey, wax, pollen, propolis, royal jelly, venom, queens, bees and their larvae. Apart from jobs and wealth creation, the other key driver for investing in Apiculture is to produce the honey that is needed for the nutrition and its miraculous healing properties, such as preventing cancer and heart disease, reducing ulcers, ease digestive problems, regulate blood sugar, soothe coughs and sore throats, antibacterial properties, and increase athletic performance. In Uganda, East African region and generally the entire globe, honey production is still very low compared to demand. More and more consumers have migrated to using honey in their diets e.g., due to perceived medicinal value and as a sweetener. Supply response in Uganda and other East African Community Partner States, is not meeting the rapidly expanding regional demand. The market is expanding and honey is largely traded across borders.

In the year 2019, TRIDI finalized the packaging of the various technologies and innovations in Apiculture and established apiaries for validation of the various technologies and innovations in Apiculture.

The project focus is to support the apiculture sub-sector through use of best practices. The underlying ideology is that improvement and commercialization of apiculture technologies and Innovations will contribute towards food and nutrition security and increase income. The apiculture industry has been constrained by destruction of natural habitats, insufficient research on beekeeping technologies and honeybee biology, ineffective pest control and lack of coordination among various actors. TRIDI will address the challenges affecting the Apiculture sub sector and promote value addition along its value chain.  The specific objectives are:

  • To generate and promote technologies and innovations for demand-driven Apiculture product value chains
  • To develop and promote markets and marketing strategies for Apiculture product value chains.
  • To facilitate and advocate policy option for enhancing demand-driven Apiculture product value chains
  • To strengthen the capacity for implementing Apiculture product value chains research
  • To enhance availability of knowledge, information, and technologies on Apiculture product value chains research.