To improve environmental bio- diversity, bee keeping is key. Beyond being a source of income through production of honey, beeswax, propolis, pollen (bee bread), royal jelly , bee venom and even medicinal use, beekeeping is also important for pollination. In the upper Mara basin, the MaMaSe Programme, has intervened to help farmers take up beekeeping. This has been implemented through the support of Water Resource Users Associations (WRUAs') and Community Forest Associations (CFAs'). These associations have been provided financial and technical assistance which has been ploughed towards acquiring bee keeping equipment such as hives and harvesting kits and also provided technical training on how to profitably undertake beekeeping.
In Nyangores CFA which is composed of 15 user groups with an average membership of twenty members, The group was supported with 10 CAB Hive complete kit. They were trained on: Importance of bee , bee keeping family- Queen, drones, workers and their respective roles, Bee Products- Honey, Propolis, pollen, Royal jelly and bee venom and types of bee hives- Langstroth, CAB hive, Kenya top bar hive and the basket hive.
Farmers Undergoing training on honey harvesting.
The training also centred on hive management, bee hive inspection procedures and honey harvesting. This training was informed by previous challenges experienced by CFAs and WRUAs in regard to long periods experienced before bee hives are colonised and lack of adequate skill in honey harvesting. To ensure sustainability and scalability the CFA was advised:-
- To reinvest the proceeds from the bee products (honey, propolis, royal
jelly, pollen and bee venom) in the conservation mechanism (bee keeping).
- The CFA to replicate the bee keeping business model among the 15 user
groups and promote adoption of bee keeping among individual members.
- The CFAs should have a structured contract with farmers advanced with
bee hive kits on how to recover the initial investment.
- Seek avenues which would provide market linkages for their products.
Some of the hives which were established during the pilots i.e. at Sacofona CFA, ISE CFA and Engare Ngito WRUA are already generating income for the farmers and WRUAs. Practical training for service providers and trainers of trainers ToTs on Bee hive inspection, honey harvesting and extraction procedures were conducted at ISEI Water Resource Users Association.
Farmers being trained about hive management