LINKING LOCAL LEARNERS � IMPACT STORIES Organizing Beekeepersthe by guym13


									                      LINKING LOCAL LEARNERS – IMPACT STORIES

                                                          increase the quantity. After a year the quantity
Organizing Beekeepers: the Story of                       increased from 500 kg - 5,000 kg per
Connoisseur Honey Association in                          individual. The quality also improved; the
        Bushenyi, Uganda                                  indicator of this was the moisture content.
 By Elly Mugisha, Manager Connoisseur Honeys,             Before training we started with a moisture
              Nyakabirizi, Uganda                         content of the honey of more than 20%. After
                                                          the training it averaged between 18% and 20%;
                                                          a very big improvement. We have coordinators
                                                          that monitor each and every beekeeper, visiting
                                                          all the members’ farms regularly. We also
                                                          have honey collection centres where we
                                                          instruct by demonstration. It is also the
                                                          associations’      responsibility  to    supply
                                                          containers in which farmers have to store their
                                                          honey before it is collected.

                                                          The Hives

                                                           A traditional hive                A box hive

The Start of the Association
I am a beekeeper and one of the initiators of
Connoisseur Honey Association. I started with
7 hives, but marketing became a problem when
I reached the level of harvesting 500 kg of               We did not take quick steps to change the
honey. So I called other beekeepers together              hives. We have been operating with fixed
and we decided to develop an organisation. In             comb hives like the box hive and the
1995 we combined our efforts and worked                   traditional hives. Recently we have started to
together, forming an organisation called                  introduce the moveable frame hives like the
Connoisseurs’ Honey Cooperative Society. To               Langstroth hives. Some time back we
be a member a beekeeper must pay 1,000 Ush                introduced the Kenya-Top-Bar hives but they
entrance fee, 2,000 Ush annual contribution               proved to be the same as a fixed comb hive.
and 5,000 Ush share to be a full member. We               The best solution according to our assessment
have agreed that a part of that money and some            will be to use the improved Langstroth hives.
of our dividends should be used for
construction and training.
                                                                   Langstroth hive
The Association Trading Centre
We have an office and trading centre in
Bushenyi, a permanent building which was a
contribution from the aid development for
farmers and cost us not less than 20 million
shillings. The honey we produce is marketed
as     Bushenyi      honey,    produced     by            The Langstroth hive is expensive to buy -
Connoisseurs’ Honey and each year at the                  around 150,000 Ush, which most of the
annual general meeting we review the prices of            farmers cannot afford. To make proper use of
all the products related to beekeeping that we            that Langstroth hive it needs another
sell. How we organize our marketing into a                component, a centrifuge machine. If the farmer
market chain is shown in the Figure below.                uses that machine it minimizes the spoiling of
                                                          the combs. For the bees to produce one
Improving Quality and Quantity                            kilogram of wax they need to consume 10 kg
Our first work was to go to the farmers and               of honey. So reducing comb damage leads to
explain to them how they could improve the                higher production.
quality of the honey and how they could

    Linking Local Learners                       Page 1                                        May 2006

                                                            containers and new hives and centrifuge
Harvesting Processing and Packing                           machines. The hats are made by a local
We harvest the capped honey and market the                  women’s group who take a small profit and the
by-products which are bees wax, and a little                smokers are made by a local youth group. The
propolis. Now we receive the honey from the                 equipment is given on credit to the farmers and
farmers in liquid form after they have extracted            their groups’ savings are held until it is paid.
the honey with the gravitational method. That
                                                             Hats and veils and
is taking the capped honey; breaking it into
small pieces; hanging it for 12 hours and
putting it into airtight containers. They then
bring it to the station where we do the
processing and packing.

 Processing at the station

                                                            Future Challenges
                                                            The way we collect honey needs to be
                                                            improved, with stainless steel tanks. A better
                                                            system is needed for heating honey without
                                                            destroying the composition. Marketing would
                                                            improve if honey could be collected at the
We pack the honey in different portions                     centre and then taken from there to either a
    Wax on sale          Skin cream
depending on the demand; from 1.20g (small                  distributor or wholesalers. That could lead the
containers for school children) to 1.5 kg. The              costing per jar to be lower.
smaller ones we sell locally and the larger ones
we take to supermarkets in Kampala and                      But most importantly we must look to
nearby towns like Mbarara and Bushenyi. We                  increasing the foraging area for our bees. As
have a hot water wax melter at the centre as                more farmers have taken up beekeeping so the
well as the more simple solar device. Some of               number of hives have increased and the
the bees’ wax is being sold to traders in                   competition per flower is high. Now there is a
Kampala and Mbarara. Some individual                        great need of increasing the plants within the
farmers make candles, shoe polish and other                 foraging area so the production can increase.
small things; but this is not done commercially             We need some ornamentals like bottlebrush,
yet. However, the market is there and we                    some agricultural trees and some cash crops.
intend to build up this area of value addition              Nursery beds would allow the farmers to buy
and at the moment we are developing a skin                  and introduce these plants in their compounds.
cream from wax. Propolis is also being sold. It
is an antibiotic substance and can cure fungal
diseases. We have been trying to process it
from a crude form to a liquid and a cream form
for skin and fungal diseases in general.

                                                              Contact Information for Elly Mugisha
         Crude propolis       Propolis cream
                                                             Patrick Kamwezi, NAADS coordinator,
Equipment and The Revolving Fund                                           Bushenyi
The revolving fund is used for the equipment
the farmers need. Clothes including bee
protection suits; gloves and hat; veils and gum
boots. Tools like smokers, airtight buckets and

     Linking Local Learners                        Page 2                                        May 2006
                                      LINKING LOCAL LEARNERS – IMPACT STORIES

Honey Association Existing Marketing Situation

                                                                    Processor           Market retailer
   Connoisseur honeys – 300      Trader
                                                                    Connoisseur        Supermarkets in Kampala
   members                       Connoisseur honeys
                                                                    honeys             and other big towns
   Basenji apiculture center –   Services provided are:
                                                                    Quantity honey     500 gm containers
   50                            training, buying and
                                                                    produced           (traders)
   Tropical bee care center      marketing bee products,
                                 packaging – plastic and            250,000kgs at      300gm containers
   Nyabubare area                                                   quality grade
                                 glass containers, and                                 200gm containers
   cooperative enterprise                                           with moisture
   Ruhinda area cooperative                                         content not more
   enterprise                                                       than 20%)
   Kyabugimbi area                                                  Added value
   cooperative association                                          through
   Other smaller groups                                             processing
   Production of: Honey, wax                                        propolis and
   and propolis                                                     bees wax

   Linking Local Learners                                  Page 3                                           May 2006

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