Challenges Of Bee Farming In Kenya

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Beekeeping in Kenya used to be a rural enterprise which contributed significantly to improved livelihoods of most rural communities in Kenya. Now it is a commercial industry that has really grown since many industries are using bee products. A National Beekeeping Policy in Kenya has been put in place and a monitoring plan highlighting best practices in the honey industry, with quality and standards as the core objects. The quality assurance laboratory at the National Beekeeping Station in Kenya is now fully equipped to offer analytical services in honey residues to all the players in the honey industry. Beekeeping is now becoming an important industry Kenya

Beekeeping in Kenya has been practiced over the years. However only 20% of the country’s honey production potential estimated at 100,000 metric tons has been tapped. Kenya consists of 80% arid and semi-arid lands which have high potential in production of honey. Non arid and semi-arid regions also practice beekeeping. Modern beekeeping in Kenya started in the late 1960s and has since become an important enterprise in the livestock sub-sector. 80% of the honey in Kenya comes from the traditional log hive. Also a reasonable amount of hive products is obtained from Kenya Top Bar and Lang troth hives

Importance of Bee-keeping

  • Bee farming is a rewarding and enjoyable occupation which has many benefits to the bee farmers and the returns are high. It has more advantages over other farm enterprises.

  • Bee farming requires little land which does not have to be fertile

  • Honey is a source of non-perishable food hence last longer

  • Capital needed to investment is very low compared to other farm enterprises

  • Beekeeping or bee farming is cheap and relatively not competitive to other Agricultural enterprises. It does not compete for scarce resources such as space.

  • Labor required in bee farming is very low for activities such as inspections and harvesting.

  • Many products can be obtained from bee farming which are great source of income. Examples of these products are honey, beeswax, pollen, bee venom, royal jelly, bee colonies, bee brood, queen bees, and package bees.

  • Bee farming encourages environmental conservation since it does cause any pollution and since bees require plant there is a tendency to conserve cutting trees.

  • Bees act as good pollinators of plants, trees, fruits and crops, thus playing a big role in bio-diversity and improvement of crop yields in our country.

  • most hive products provide remedy for a number of ailments (Apitherapy) and can cure many disease

 CHALLENGES FACING PRODUCTION OF HONEY IN KENYA

  • Lack of skills is a major challenge facing this sector. Most farmers in Kenya lack adequate skills on managing bees and handling hive products.

  • Also Inadequate training for both farmers and extension staff is also a challenge facing this sector.

  • Limited   access to appropriate beekeeping equipment is among the challenges facing bee farming in Kenya.

  • Another challenge facing this sector is underdeveloped marketing system of hive products both locally and internationally. This can be due to problems of quality and marketing organizations.

  • Lack of adequate and intense research on the existing beekeeping technologies, equipment, honey bee and product utilization is also a main challenge facing bee farming in Kenya.

  • Low prioritization of beekeeping in relation to other enterprises in the wider Agricultural sector has also been a problem facing this sector because they get less funds from the government

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