Beekeeping could be a game-changer for Parish Model

The goal of the Parish Development Model (PDM) is to deepen the process of decentralization; improve household incomes; enable inclusive, sustainable, balanced and equitable socio-economic transformation; and increase local accountability.

This implies the eradication of poverty and vulnerability, as well as the total transformation of subsistence households into a cash economy.

It is in everyone’s interest to ensure that rural communities generate sustainable incomes as soon as possible. Various breeding enterprises; poultry, fisheries, dairy farming, pig farming among others, the beekeeping business offers one of the best options for rural communities and commercial farmers due to its minimum requirements for land, machinery and equipment, labor and capital investment.

The income potential of beekeeping is estimated at $10,400 per year with a project cost of $7,345 and a profit margin of 73%, which proves to be a viable project.

In Uganda, the potential for honey production is huge, estimated at 500,000 metric tons per year. This potential is not yet fully exploited. The basic knowledge and skills needed to harness the potential for honey production are lacking among technocrats and farmers.

Bees are social insects that live in colonies of 10,000 to 60,000. A colony consists of a queen (fertile female), a few hundred drones (males) and thousands of workers (sterile females) .

As a food source, honey is delicious and rich in energy and vitamins. It can be eaten whole or mixed with other foods as a supplement. Bee brood (larvae and pupae) has a high nutritional value and is given to malnourished children. Royal jelly and pollen are consumed for their high protein value and this greatly improves food security

Honey is used as a carrier in Ayurvedic and Unani medicines. It acts as a laxative and prevents colds, coughs and fever. Bee products such as venom, honey and propolis are used for the treatment of many ailments due to the antibiotic nature of the products. Ailments/diseases treated with bee products include stomach aches, diarrhea, vomiting, sores, burns, measles, toothaches and fungal infections.

Chemically, honey is a viscous aqueous solution of sugar. Its approximate percentage composition is as follows: Water 13-20, Fructose 40-50, Glucose 2-3, Trace Minerals, Vitamins (small amounts) (B1, B2, C).

Bee venom is anti-inflammatory and is used by humans to relieve pain. It is effective in treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, neuralgia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even multiple sclerosis, hence the high potential for income generation.

Bees provide pollination services, thus playing a vital role in food production and overall agricultural productivity.

More than 75 percent of all crops in sub-Saharan Africa benefit from pollination.

Bees are considered the most effective pollinators because they have hairy bodies, which easily pick up pollen grains as they move through flowers. In a single day, a bee can visit several hundred flowers.

Beekeeping is a non-destructive activity that could be employed in the conservation of plant biodiversity in natural ecosystems. Households living near these areas can support efforts to conserve these resources by establishing apiaries within or at the edge of these protected areas. Additionally, beeswax can be used in making candles, preparing varnishes and paints, waterproofing and waxing threads. Honey is used to make alcoholic beverages, beauty lotions, and poison baits for certain insect pests that fetch a lot of money.

In summary, PDM is the last mile strategy for service delivery by the government to improve the incomes and welfare of all Ugandans at the household level, which should be utilized to the maximum by encouraging farmers to practice beekeeping.

The African Development Bank and the Government of Uganda through the Improved Agricultural Incomes and Forest Conservation (FIEFOC) project, under the beekeeping promotion sub-component, have undertaken a series of interventions , the standardization of the national training document through the national beekeeping training and popularization manual, which is to be widely implemented under the PDM.

Beekeeping will contribute immensely to the achievement of Vision 2040 which aims to transform Ugandan society from a peasant country to a modern and prosperous country.