Based at the Cheptebo Rural Development Centre, Bees Abroad has provided support for training modules, and demonstration and training apiaries, enabling farmers to increase high quality honey production for local consumption and increasingly for sale.
Some five years ago, Bees Abroad established a four-hive demonstration apiary. The honey bees aid pollination of the Centre’s fruit trees, providing a visual demonstration to visitors of the importance of honey bees in food production.
Cheptebo is located in the Kerio Valley; an isolated, narrow strip of land approximately 80 km long, through which the Kerio River flows. The region is richly endowed with land, water, wildlife, minerals, and forests. However, it experiences disasters such drought, landslides, deforestation, flooding and soil erosion. Around 50% of the population around Cheptebo lives in poverty.
Bees Abroad activities
Traditionally, wild honey has been harvested over many centuries. Built on this local knowledge, the centre has developed a year’s course on ‘Farming God’s Way’ (minimal input etc.), including beekeeping. Money, kindly donated by the Wax Chandlers, was used to send the centre Farm Manager to The National Beekeeping Station for a week’s training.
The centre asked Bees Abroad to put together a module that includes; the construction, establishment and management of a modern top bar beehive unit, how a bee colony functions and how honey is produced, harvested and stored. It highlights suitable locations for a colony, the importance of flowering plants, and precautions and treatment of pests and diseases. The production and sale of beeswax and beeswax products are included within the module.
A demonstration and training apiary away from the centre is planned, so trainees can handle bees as part of the course. Nearer the centre there will be an apiary for visitors showing different types of hive. Two of the women from the centre have attended value-addition training, and are making body creams to sell in the centre shop.