Beekeeping, also known as apiculture is an agricultural project that can enable an agripreneur to make quick money after a short time.
Although many youths in Uganda do not know this secret, Brian Ogenrwoth, who discovered the monetary benefits of beekeeping, has shared with ‘I am an Agripreneur’ an insight into advantages of beekeeping and how to do it.
Ogenrwoth says that: “There is income generation through sale of different bee products and services. For example, on average a beekeeper requires at least 20 hives each costing between Shs150,000-200,000 depending on the type-; it can even be lower especially when using traditional hives.”
Each hive produces a minimum of 10kg of processed honey per year and each kilogram fetches a minimum of Shs10,000/= at the farm gate. This means that a beekeeper earns Shs2,000,000 from beekeeping, with very little labor and other variable costs. What if one has 40 hives and above? What if other products of bees are utilized as well?
He adds that “There is also a production of nutritious products which include; honey and propolis. Besides that, bees help during pollination of crops such as Coffee, Watermelons, fruits, bananas, among others. They also contribute to Biodiversity by helping nature create a wide range of plant types through pollination of flowers for various fauna and flora.”
Besides pollination and honey, bees also support Agro-tourism, for instance, there are people who want to visit a place with organized apiary to learn specific topics such as History of beekeeping in that area, how to bait bees, making traditional hives, harvesting honey, etc.
Beekeeping supports research in fields such as entomology, Crop science, and toxicology (in Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary).
Other benefits include;
This is the treatment of human diseases using bee products, for example, Propolis is used for treating ulcers and as an anti-inflammatory, honey for treating cough, among others. Beekeeping creates an atmosphere for relaxing for the beekeeper hence improving quality of life.
In the management of the apiary, selling bee products and apiary equipment are activities that create jobs for all stakeholders in the business.
Bee products are sources of raw materials for industrial processing for example sweeteners, wax, and antioxidants. Every 15kg of honey produces 1kg of beeswax. Bee wax is used for making candles, soap, shoe polish, capsules, and foundation combs among others.
Why is Beekeeping an easy project to undertake by everyone?
According to Ogenrwoth, beekeeping is very easy because it does not require sophisticated skills to undertake. It is cheap to establish because a beekeeper uses locally available resources and materials. It is also cheap to manage and among enterprises with low variable costs per year, yet the outputs are high; for example, it requires a few workers who don’t have to work all day.
It is also ideal for small landholders because a quarter to half an acre can be sufficient for a beginner. Beekeeping supports the development of other enterprises that all generate more income because it can be integrated into other projects like fruit farming, forestry, among others.
It can also efficiently utilize land areas that are not very productive for other agricultural enterprises.
Seek guidance or professional services when siting the hives, for example, a hive shouldn’t be at a distance less than 100-200m from human dwelling places, the apiary should be near water, flowering plants such as Calliandra, Coffee, Sunflower, Mangoes, etc.