Honey ProcessingApiculture

Bee-keeping plan to change farmers’ fortunes in Kitui
Kitui County has focused on training beekeepers on honey production and profitable beekeeping practices to enable farmers benefit from services that can help them achieve higher yields and income.
The initiative is pegged on commercializing beekeeping for sustainable livelihoods in line with Governor Charity Ngilu’s wealth Creation agenda. The county has over 5000 beekeepers with an estimated 30,000 traditional beehives that once value addition measures are introduced, the residents will build a perfect brand for locally produced honey to boost the multi-million industry.
The county government is embarking on a programme to guarantee that farmers reap the full benefits of the industry that has the potential to produce 400 metric tonnes of honey annually that could translate to sh.80 million for the farmers.
Honey production has attracted farmers across the county with several cooperatives emerging among them the Kamaki Beekeepers in Athi ward of Kitui South where honey is processed and packaged for mass sales.
The county registered and trained beekeepers on harvesting and handling of honey to ensure farmers reap maximally from the venture. This was informed by the need to increase access to reliable and direct market to increase gains and grow individual honey production capacity.
The constant advance measures on value addition of the product has seen an increased local market and is gradually opening up the commodity’s market at the international arena.
Kitui’s Value Addition Specialist Dr. Temi Mutia says the training programme for the farmers was set to help them engage in profitable beekeeping practices to commercialize the venture for sustainable livelihood.
He noted the previous disjointed, haphazard and uncoordinated way farmers were undertaking the activity which had little economic gains saying the natural resource has the potential to turn around lives.
Apart from honey, a number of other products are obtained from the activity – for instance beeswax, bee venom, royal jelly and pollen. Apiculture also enhances environmental conservation.
Kitui is one of the regions with arid and semi-arid lands {ASALS} and has a high potential for honey production.