“Bees are more important than poultry in terms of human nutrition.” -- Joergen Tautz
Beekeeping has a very important role to play in the development of Kenya and is a means to diversify livelihoods and make the best use of resources available - a diversified livelihood is a more secure one.
The Baringo area is traditionally a thriving area for beekeeping and honey production. Ruko anticipates creating a market for its honey as a means to empower the community by creating an alternative source of income.
Why Beekeeping at Baringo?
The communities of Ruko realise the importance of enhancing the environment to improve their honey yields. Through the Ruko Beekeeping Project the communities will be more active in safeguarding their natural environment as they know their honey crops are dependent on local vegetation, mostly trees, as their source of nectar. Other benefits of beekeeping are:
- Bees do not compete with livestock for food
- Beekeeping can be carried out by men and women of any age
- Beekeeping requires little space and compliments other farm activities
- Beekeeping does not need good soil
- Bees help the pollination of flowers, plants and crops
- Bees help to increase the quantity and quality of flowering crops
- Bees fly 3 km from the hive so you benefit from other people.s flowers
- Bees produce honey, beeswax and propolis (used in medicines) and other products such as royal jelly, pollen, bee venom and bee brood.
- Honey has a high market value
- …And honey is always in demand
So far 300 beehives have been purchased with processors and other accessories. Recently Sinya Beekeepers Ltd, a local based capacity building group on beekeeping held a five day training workshop for ten members, 8 from the community as well as 2 of Ruko’s wildlife scouts who will also be trained in beekeeping management.
This Beekeeping project is managed by this ten member team assisted by the Ruko secretariat. The apiaries are set as per the community’s preference taking into consideration the need for security, water and forage for the bees. So far 50% of the beehives have been colonized and the team are awaiting results of a sample of honey that was harvested during the training session which was sent for testing at the Kenya Bureau of Standards in readiness for branding and marketing of the honey. Plans are also ready to have Samatian Ltd become the major outlet at Kampi ya Samaki in Baringo to market Ruko honey; as well as other plans to establish a selling point at Marigat town.
Of the revenue made from Ruko honey 40% will be ploughed back into the conservancy whilst 60% will be shared by the community to fund Ruko’s education and health programmes.