My name is Sandra Ejang, 30 years old, from Kampala, Uganda. I hold a Bsc in Telecommunications Engineering from Kyambogo University and my husband and are farmers – bee keepers to be precise – among other things.
Bee keeping is a family undertaking. Although the work can easily be done by women, it is considered a man’s work in the African context. Most of the inputs to a successful bee-keeping venture can be accessed locally and in addition to that, bee keeping can be profitable right from the beginning.
Our project aims to promote the culture of bee keeping to the small community of Kigumba, Masindi District, where we practice our bee keeping. We currently have a total of 18 hives from which we harvest a minimum of 4 kgs of honey per hive. We then package the honey and sell it to the nearby supermarkets.
Income generated will be re-invested in the venture to train more farmers and purchase more hives, building a strong network of bee keepers in the process.
My motivation comes from watching how poorly these local communities eat. Most of the teenagers have dropped out of school due to lack of tuition and girls are getting married at a very young age.
Bee-keeping has several advantages, such as:
- It supplies an additional, non-perishable food for rural people.
- It provides a cash crop for rural people in the form of honey and wax.
- It can be a means of gainful work when the farmer is not involved in planting staple crops.
- It can create work for local craftsmen who make equipment.
- It increases the production of other crops such as peanuts, coffee, and citrus through better pollination. Insect pollination is important for many cultivated plants.
Advantages of bee-keeping over other types of agriculture include:
- It needs a relatively small investment.
- It uses little land and the quality of the land is not important.
- It is a flexible activity for both sexes and any age group.
- It can be carried on as a productive secondary activity with low level technology, or as a primary undertaking with more complicated techniques.
Beekeeping does not compete for resources with other types of agriculture, and the nectar and pollen of the plants are a true bonus.
Up to 20 families have been identified to kick start the project. Two hives will be given to each family and they will be taken through a small course in bee-keeping. When harvest time comes, we will help with the harvest, because we have the extractor. Then we buy the honey from them to ensure a ready market. We will then process the honey, package it, and resell to consumers.
Our farm will be used as a demonstration site for trainings. We are already in communication with an Australian NGO called Australia Bringing Hope Inc. regarding trainings and provision of hives.
Our success will be determined by:
- The number of families we are able to get into the program by the end of the year.
- The amount of honey we are able to harvest from these families.
We will use the USD $5,000 grant as shown below:
Purchase of 40 hives for the 20 families: USD $2,000 – 1st April – 30th May 2016
Purchase of additional smokers: USD $1,000 – April 2016
Training sessions (3 in total): USD $500 – April – May 2016
Branding, packaging: USD $1,000 – August 2016
Administrative costs: USD $500 – April – August 2016
Blogpost and picture submitted by Sandra Ejang (Kampala, Uganda) – sandiejang[at]gmail.com
The content, structure and grammar is at the discretion of the author only.
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