A project to improve and upgrade the manufacturing, processing and marketing of honey has opened up the beekeeping market in Uganda, increasing incomes for 2,000 smallholder farmers across the very spread out project areas (Acholi and Karamoja).
With financial support from the Danish Government (DANIDA) and Irish Aid, alongside being implemented by Self Help Africa and Golden Bees Ltd, the project is providing education and support about all things beekeeping related to small-time farmers across Acholi and Karamoja, a former centre of tribal conflict and ethnic violence.
The MORE Honey Project is providing training and support to over 60 local groups. They have set up over 13 demonstration sites to teach new beekeepers, they have trained 11 community-based trainers, and have trained 15 artisans to construct new hives.
They have set up depots for depositing the honey crop that is harvested and the 80 groups they have set up can bring the crop here to be processed, stored and sold. The honey will find its way into new markets. Large quantities of beeswax have been bought by commercial partners in Europe, with new shipments soon to follow.
The new economic opening has forced many new business skills to be learned to help integrate the area into the market, such as financial literacy, business ethics, management, entrepreneurship, business operations, sales and marketing among others.
MORE Honey will promote the development of an equitable honey value chain in one of the poorest regions of Uganda, along with improving the economy, it will also allow the communities to be able to pay school fees for their children, buy more hives, pay medical bills and meet their dietary needs alongside buying clothes for their family members and saving some hard cash, thanks to the good cash prices which followed the impressive improvement in apiary management practices.
Self Help Africa believes that this will help transform Uganda into a beekeeping hub and establish it as a key exporter of all high quality honey and apiary products for Africa and the European Union.
These new advantages will make all the difference to Mister Atyak Lapoya Ocweth of Ikor Village in the Kitgum district. He was inspired to take up beekeeping by his maternal grandfather when he was a youth. He started beekeeping in 1973 with 1 log hive, and after 1 year, he had 11 colonized hives. In 2019, he joined the MORE Honey project, and thanks to the knowledge of the international apiary market, he was re-energized and bought 28 more hives. The project has also equipped him with the skills to craft hives and trained him in financial management. As a result of this, he bulked more than 20 metric tonnes of honey over 2019 and 2020.
Mr. Atyat is determined to transform the community of Lagoro and Uganda at large using beekeeping. He has affirmed that in the next 2-3 years, he wishes to own 500 colonised hives.