Beekeeping in Kenya

Funding required: $38,800

This project will help: 150 families of Compassion beneficiaries

Estimated completion date: July 2022

Country: Kenya

Executive summary

Taita Taveta County lies in southeastern Kenya, just west of the coast, and borders the Republic of Tanzania to the southwest. The poverty rate in Taita Taveta County is 57 per cent, with 48 per cent of the population experiencing food poverty. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood here, employing 80 per cent of people. The high level of poverty is partly due to erratic and inadequate rainfall.

Despite a long history of beekeeping in Taita Taveta, Kenya, traditional beekeeping practices yield low quality and quantity of honey. Many Compassion caregivers in the county keep conventional log hives. Log hives tend to attract fewer bees, and many bees leave the hive. Hive colonization rates are relatively low in the region, at an average of 40 to 60 per cent of hives attracting bees. From log hives, beekeepers harvest crude honey, often containing crushed combs, wax, pollen and other particles.

Taita Taveta County is a high-potential zone for apiculture. However, beekeepers here are unable to take advantage of the potential the beekeeping sector offers to create jobs and sustainable incomes due to a combination of factors, including lack of awareness of agricultural innovations, a lack of business attitude, climate-dependent production, lack of a definite and reliable market and a lack of skills and equipment.

Compassion Kenya identified 150 caregivers who could improve their incomes with beekeeping training and support. Through this initiative, 150 caregivers in Taita Taveta County will learn better beekeeping practices and start beekeeping savings and loan groups. Caregivers will also receive supplies to create community tree nurseries and plant sunflowers. Caregivers will also be trained in business and marketing. This venture will provide the skills and infrastructure to improve the lives of 150 families now and for years to come. The people around them will also benefit as caregivers share their knowledge, and the trees and flowers nourish the bees. As the beekeeping sector grows in this county, it will create jobs and improve incomes.

Did you know?

Maize and beans are the most important food crops grown in Taita Taveta County, Kenya. However, these main crops in the lower zones are often seriously affected by drought.

Summary

Background

Despite a long history of beekeeping in Taita Taveta County, traditional log hives are most common. A hollow tree with timber lids at both ends is used for the hive. Unfortunately, these hives yield low quality honey as local beekeepers harvest crude honey containing crushed combs, wax, pollen and other particles. The amount of honey harvested per year is 7,200 kilograms from modern, movable comb hives and 12,000 kilograms from log hives. However, the potential for beekeeping has not been fully exploited. Though the government does have a program to teach people better agricultural practices, they are understaffed. Caregivers also have difficulty securing reasonable loans for investing in modern equipment, flowering trees and plants and training.

The need

This initiative will help 150 families increase their incomes through better beekeeping and increased honey yields. Each caregiver will receive two Langstroth hives. The long-lasting hives yield large amounts of honey and make it easy to control swarming. Caregivers will belong to savings and loan groups and will repay in-kind loans for their hives from their earnings to ensure the initiative is sustainable beyond the initial investment.

Caregivers will receive supplies and training to plant trees to create two community tree nurseries per savings group in their area. These flowering trees will provide a sustainable, drought-resistant source of food for the bees. The trees will also help the land retain water and be a source of timber and firewood. Caregivers will also plant sunflowers to offer variety for the bees.

Each frontline church partner will offer three or four beekeeping training sessions, facilitated by experts in honey production and local livestock authorities. Caregivers will learn about hive cleaning and repair, swarm catching and control, water provision, pest control, hive perfuming and how to strengthen weak colonies. A demonstration site with at least ten hives will help caregivers acquire hands-on skills. They will learn to process the honey using simple processing equipment before it is marketed.

What your gift will do

Your gift will help 150 families in Taita Taveta County become successful beekeepers:

  • 3 or 4 training sessions on beekeeping management
  • Apiary management demonstration equipment
  • Equipment, supplies and training by a County Environment Officer/Forestry Officer to start community tree nurseries (two nurseries per savings group)
  • Sunflower seedlings
  • 2 Langstroth hives per caregiver
  • Training, monitoring and marketing assistance by Jungle Honey Ltd. and the County Livestock Production Department

Logistics

  • Local contribution: US$4,440.45
  • Handling of funds: Compassion Uganda will ensure that this intervention remains within budget.
  • Follow-up: Two apiarists from each savings group will be trained to supervise the beekeeping activities, along with the County Livestock Production Officers. Together, they will provide regular monitoring, inspection and advice.
80%

No less than 80 per cent of your donation will be used for program activities and a maximum of 20 per cent for fundraising and administration. If we exceed our funding goal for the initiative shown, the remaining funds will be used to fund other programs where the need is greatest.