Visit to Kenya by Abdul Miah

When the chance arose to travel to Kenya and document the DIFD funded Bees abroad project, it was an opportunity too good to turn down. Landing in Nairobi on my birthday and leaving a young family behind in London, I wanted to maximise this opportunity to reflect to the best of my ability the impact beekeeping has on the lives of people benefiting from the Bees Abroad project in Kenya.

I was collected by the Executive project manager David Njuguna and our driver Jessie Maina and was taken to Nanyuki to the project headquarters. David is a very knowledgeable beekeeper and I was quickly acquainted to the cultural differences in bee keeping together with the social customs in Kenya (lots of praying at every opportunity). During my short stay we visited 7 groups and two schools, with most days starting early and finishing late, with hours spent on very dusty and often bumpy roads.

Our first stop was visiting a honey processing unit in Ruai. The centre had been refurbished with the support of Bees Abroad after being closed for many years. The centre was originally opened in 1978 by the Canadian High commission but eventually closed down as interest and knowledge about bees declined in the local area.

Since 2012, with the support of Bees Abroad, the centre which contains a honey refinery, a small meeting space and a couple of storage rooms has rejuvenated the beekeeping community in the area with up to 200 bee keepers benefiting from the centre. Group Chairman Josphet Kiriungi, declared his group have benefited greatly from the work of Bees Abroad as they received training in beekeeping and capacity building. The Ruai group have also been working closely with Bees Abroad’s Nanyuki based marketing officers.

Mary Ngari – Bees Abroad Marketing Officer in Kenya

Marketing the honey has been the biggest challenge for the Ruai group.  They have formed a cooperative, registered with various government agencies and are certified by the Kenya Bureau of Standards to legally promote/sell their honey and other hive related by products to large supermarkets. Mary, a part time employee with Bees Abroad, feels her jobs has an immense impact on the Kenyan beekeepers as she tries to connect local bee keepers directly with shops and chain outlets, bypassing any middle parties. The marketing officers regularly have to conduct market research and surveys on honey and wax products as they provide support to a range of clients – from small groups in semi-arid villages to cooperatives in cities and towns. Mary claims her work has helped many famers to earn an extra income. She noted that the extra income has a massive impact on their families as they can eat better than before and also pay towards school fees for their children.

Apart from the honey yield, I noticed how groups try and maximise all the other by products they gather during their harvests. The group in Mukuri were very interesting – they physically showed me how they created a really popular cream from the beeswax in under 30 minutes.

Abdul Miah – 2016

Come and meet us

We always enjoy meeting our supporters.  We will have a stand at the following shows this summer:

15-16 June – Three Counties Show at the Show Ground, Malvern, Worcestershire

11 July – Great Yorkshire Show, Harrogate, Yorkshire

12-14 July – 2000 Trees Festival Upcote Farm, Withington, Cheltenham, Glos, GL54 4BL

5th August – Gower Show, Penrice Castle Park, Reynoldston, Swansea, SA3 1LA

10-11 August – Shrewsbury Show, Shropshire

31 August – Dunster Show, Minehead, Somerset

25-26 October – National Honey Show, Sandown Park, Esher

Please come along and visit our stand and see our range of Gift Cards

Continue reading “Come and meet us”

Heather Honey: a Comprehensive Guide

The launch of Michael Badger’s book, Heather Honey: A Comprehensive Guide is a great success and proving very popular with beekeepers and we are delighted to have received over £300 in Royalities so far.  You can order your copy from  www.bee-craft.com. If you are looking for a special gift, a limited edition of 100, signed hard cover copies are available too. A big thank you to Michael Badger for donating proceeds from his book to Bees Abroad and the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers.

The Forward is written by Graeme de Bracey Marrs, MBE, Past Master of The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers of London (2010)

Heather Honey: A Comprehensive Guide

A wide range of beekeeping gems is offered. Detailed information, supported by many photographs and illustrations, makes this book a pleasure to read. The history, knowledge and instruction captured in this book will aid those who participate in the highly respected British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) examinations, for which The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers of London presents the annual Wax Chandlers’ Prize.

The information included about the origins of the landscape of the heather moors portrays a fascinating history. The painstaking reference to all heather areas of the British Isles is exemplary. Examples of man’s most recent misdemeanours to the environment are enlightening.

In conclusion, I believe that all beekeepers and others with an interest in this subject and beekeeping as a whole will find this work a fine adjunct to their libraries of books.

Michael Badger, MBE, has been a beekeeper man and boy, with experience extending over 65 years. In his time, he has been fortunate to meet many of the great keepers of honey bees. He was devoted to the late Colin Weightman, MBE, and Brother Adam, OBE, OSB, of Buckfast Abbey fame, spending many of his formative beekeeping years with them.

 

Adding Value in Kenya

Mary demonstrating soap production
Mary demonstrating soap production

John and Mary Home are visiting Kenya. A visit to Kerio Valley to give training in making soap from beeswax and honey. Then off to Laikaipia meeting with David Njugna and the Deputy Minister for small livestock, including bees. John Home is pleased to present a Refractometer kindly donated by www.mannlake.co.uk to Bee Products Enterprise Development. We are grateful to them for their support.