VENTURING IN BEEKEEPING FOR LIVELIHOOD

The science and art of managing honey bees called apiculture. Beekeeping, or apiculture as it is also known, is the human activity of maintaining honey bees. A beekeeper, or apiarist, is someone who keeps honey bees for the purpose of collecting their honey and other products that are produced by the hive such as propoli (a waxy resinous substance that comes from buds, used by bees as a cement and caulking in making their hives), beeswax and royal jelly, or to pollinate crops, or to produce bees for sale to other beekeepers. Beekeeping can be done using stinging or stingless bees.

 Although honey continues to be an important product of honey bees, their most valuable service is pollination. Beekeeping is an agro-based activity which is being undertaken by local farmers and or landless laborers in rural areas of Uganda at a subsistence level as an integrated farming practice. Beekeeping supplements income, employment generation and nutritional intake of Ugandan rural population. 

An apiary, also known as a bee yard (photo credit: roysfarm.com)

According to Fred Kalanzi (May 2014), Kalinzu Forest, Western Uganda, through National Forestry Resources Research Institute, honey production in the area is highly dependent on the use of traditional beehives;  Formal education and trainings are the main socio-economic factors that influence adoption of improved beehives; he urges that interventions be aimed at trainings that overcome production, processing and marketing constraints in the apiculture value chain.

Uganda has a very high potential for beekeeping given its floral diversity. This potential has not been fully exploited due to highly traditional production systems and limited apicultural research. A study was conducted in May 2014, based on a survey of 60 beekeepers in areas adjacent to Kalinzu forest. The study employed a logistic regression model to assess the factors that influence the adoption of improved beehives. The study also analyzed the local honey value chain to ascertain specific constraints affecting beekeeping in the study area. Results showed that education and trainings in beekeeping were the major factors influencing adoption of improved beehives. The honey value chain was dominated by beekeepers, middlemen and commercial processors. Pests, lack of equipment, low prices for bee products and farm sprays were the main factors affecting honey producers. Middlemen were constrained by high costs of transport, low quantities of honey collected and non-cash payments by buyers. Commercial processors were faced with honey adulteration, expensive equipment and unreliable honey supply. Commercialization efforts should therefore focus on specialized trainings that overcome the constraints identified in the value chain (Fred Kalanzi 2014).

The socio-economic status of beekeepers according to his research indicates that most of the beekeeper were young, lower educated, obtain basic beekeeping training from NGOs and considered beekeeping as a part-time job. The sensitivity analysis shows that Apis Mellifera bee species have a higher IRR than Apis Cerana for a particular size of a beehive. The larger beehive obtains larger IRR, ROI, and B/C ratio. However, the average IRR is higher for Apis Cerana (185.60), the bigger number of large beehive of Apis Cerana contributing larger outcome. The correlation of beekeeping benefits and cost factors suggest that, overall profit is highly correlated with beehive colony, wooden box, labor and transportation cost.

 Fred Kalanzi concluded that: proper beekeeping training and effective marketing of honey and other beekeeping byproducts is highly desired by the beekeepers. Government concern and NGOs’ involvement is mandatory to improve beekeeper training, marketing, and overall beekeeping business, which could contribute to the socio-economic development of marginal farmers of a country.

Technological evolution of Beekeeping

A set of beehives (photo credit: familyhandyman.com)

In recent years, a modification of the Lang-troth beehive has been made and is marketed as a flow-hive. Flow-hives use proprietary technologies that allow for harvesting of honey without removing beehive frames from the beehive. The frames are specially made for the Flow-hive. With Flow-hives, there is little possibility of harvesting some of the other beehive products available to other beekeepers. Most notably, using a purely flow hive setup will see you have very little beewax to harvest at the end of each year of beekeeping. On the other hand, Flow hives give you very clean honey with little or no impurities, and save the beekeeper a lot of time.The costs of buying a honey extractor are also avoided.

Until recently, smoke has been used by beekeepers to keep honey bees from stinging the beekeeper on hive visits. Before the rise of the beekeeping veil, beekeeping was a rather hands-off practice with beehive visits mainly aimed at finding out if the bees have stored honey, how much it is, and harvesting it. Modern beekeeping requires more frequent monitoring and management of the honey bee colony, and the beehive in which the colony is housed.

Health Benefits of Bee Products to Your Life

Various phenol compounds contribute to the functional properties of bee products, including their antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, wound healing, improved immunity, menopausal symptoms and cardio- protective activities. Bee pollen contains many vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, making it incredibly healthy. Studies have linked bee pollen and its compounds to health benefits such as.

Beeswax

From honey and royal jelly to propolis and pollen, the super healthy bee products that you can harvest from your hives do not stop there. Known for its practical application in the creation of candles and other products, beeswax has a serious reputation as a skincare product as well. After all the nutritional value of the other substances you can get from your hive, beeswax offers some cosmetic potential. Beeswax also has anti-inflammatory properties and can be used for a range of skin irritations.

Propolis

Natural bee propolis (photo credit: bensbees.com)

Propolis is another little-known bee-product that is nevertheless acknowledged as something of a super food. Propolis is made from tree sap, which bees collect and mix with other substances to create a thick substance which is used to coat their hives. Although not a food for bees, it is another substance sold as a health food and dietary supplement. Being derived from sap, the precise content of propolis will be heavily influenced by the trees from which the bees have collected it. Nevertheless, the over 300 substances typically found within a sample of propolis are primarily polyphenols, which can bolster disease prevention and immuno-defense in humans.

Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI) www.tridi.org is spearheading this practice of cultivating bees for socio-economic and academic purposes. Tropical Institute of Development Innovations (TRIDI) is dedicated body, pioneering science, technology and innovations to harness production, manufacturing and processing for the attainment of national growth.

Elit Ritah

PR SPECIALIST: confident, passionate, critical, observant, optimistic, inquisitive, strong-spirited, self-motivated, self-driven, private.

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