Thousands of households in north eastern Uganda are striking ‘liquid gold’, thanks to a project focused on the financial benefits of beekeeping.
MORE Honey has improved the productivity, quality and profitability of apiculture in north eastern Uganda, where 2,000 households have been supported in a project that has been backed by DANIDA (Denmark’s overseas development agency) and Irish Aid and implemented with support from Self Help Africa, KahlWax, Golden Bees Ltd and Swienty.
MORE-Honey has not just improved the quality and production of honey. The project has also supported the mobilisation of beekeepers into producer groups, and has enabled them to harvest both high quality honey, and realise the benefits of byproducts including beeswax and propolis markets for all three products have been established locally, regionally and internationally.
“Most of the materials that we use to build the hives are sourced from around the community” says Ponciano Okot, a local bee farmer from Kitgum who is training groups on beehive fabrication. A new bulking centre has been built to store honey after it has been harvested, ensuring the honey is stored correctly before being sold.
Bee-keeping is a great climate-smart option for small-scale farmers as it’s not reliant on soil quality or rainfall so it can help to diversify farmer’s incomes and enterprises. “This project is providing an opportunity for alternative livelihoods, in case you fail in keeping cows” says entomologist Dr. Simon Arionga.
Bee-keeping can also provide a pathway out of poverty for farmers in rural African communities, as local farmer Samson Lorianako can attest: “Beekeeping has given me a second income and with that I have been able to buy more goats and start a business for my wife.”
In addition, Village Loans and Savings Associations have been introduced as part of the MORE-Honey project to encourage financial inclusion within communities as well as provide a more sustainable approach to bee farming.
The MORE-Honey project will act as a long-term catalyst for building a vibrant Ugandan honey sector capable of meeting domestic and international demand for high quality honey.