Kabarore Apiculture Development Cooperative (KADCO) is a group of about 15 farmers in a small and remote village who are working together to develop bee keeping as a source of income. Many of them are experienced beekeepers and use local cylindrical hives made from wood, leaves and clay. Honey yields are low and all honey is sold locally and unprocessed.
Bees Abroad was asked to provide training, to help increase yields and to advise on processing and marketing of honey. Yields appear to be low due to the use of insecticides on crops across the area and consequently the beekeepers are taking more of the combs at each harvest further depleting the size of the colonies. An experiment was set up to compare yields from top bar hives and the local cylindrical hives using the new beekeeping skills taught by the Bees Abroad trainers. Five top bar hives were made and five local hives were purchased and donated to the beekeepers. The colonisation rates and honey yields will be monitored. Two of each type of hive will be managed by the women from the group – another variable to add to the experiment.
Honey is sold as a mashed product of honey and comb, often with some brood. Many people prefer to buy their honey unprocessed as they feel there is less chance that it has been adulterated with water or other products.
Bees Abroad has helped the cooperative buy a small piece of land for use as an apiary. There is a need to place the bee hives away from farmers and local people and also at a distance from crops that are sprayed with insecticide. This new apiary site will allow KADCO to work together and provide training and support
Into the future
The beekeepers are keen to have more top bar hives but as they are more than twice the price of the local hives we need to show that they produce more honey. The top bar hives though should last at least twice as long as the local hives so the results of the experiment will be very interesting. Some of the beekeepers are keen to visit other apiaries with top bar hives and hopefully all this knowledge will also prove useful to the other projects in Rwanda.
We have recently received a letter from the group
The beekeeping knowledge we acquired from you will always be resourceful to us and we commit to pass over this knowledge to many people so that beekeeping can supplement our meager incomes.
We have started training our friends in bee keeping, we have made three top bar hives ourselves and we shall continue to make more as we get means. Each one of us is contributing 200 frw per week and we can collect between 1500 and 2000 when we meet because not everybody can get that money. This money is to buy timber and make more top bar hives.
- Location – Kabarore Apiculture Development Cooperative, Eastern Province, Rwanda
- Population – 434,000 in Gatsibo District
- Local NGO – Kabarore Apiculture Development Cooperative (KADCO)
- Project managers – Jo Harper email@example.com