Buzzing on Coffee: How Beekeeping Increases Crop Yield

Buzzing on Coffee: How Beekeeping Increases Crop Yield

August 30, 2023

The fertile mountains of Rwenzori, Uganda

Beekeeping brought more than honey to this rural community. Read on to find out how Rwenzori Rural Talent got more than they bargained for…

The Rwenzori Rural Talent community is nestled within the fertile landscapes of the Rwenzori Mountains of Uganda. As smallholder farmers, the members of this community dedicate their time and efforts to tending their land, making the most of the region’s productive soils. Among the crops that flourish under their care, coffee stands out as a significant agricultural product. The rich soil and favourable climate provide an ideal environment for coffee cultivation.

Recognising the need for diversification and seeking to enhance their economic prospects, the community turned to Bees Abroad for support in introducing beekeeping. 

Why beekeeping is uniquely beneficial to farming communities ​

Bees Abroad has been supporting the Rwenzori Rural Talent project sine 2020 and during the four years of our support, beekeeping has become as a valuable addition to the income-generating activities of the community. Unlike other farming endeavours that demand extensive land and time commitments, beekeeping offers a more manageable and less labour-intensive alternative.

The community approach Bees Abroad for support in achieving their goals which include promoting economic empowerment for rural women and children, empowering local women and youth with beekeeping skills, improving health standards, and establishing innovative models of microeconomic enterprises in rural areas.

Buzzing on coffee

The Rwenzori Rural Talent community has reported some significant benefits from beekeeping. Firstly, the income generated from beekeeping has provided them with the means to invest in education, allowing families to send their children to school without being crippled by the cost. You can read about how beekeeping can help pay for school fees for children in Uganda here.  

Secondly, the community has witnessed a remarkable increase in coffee production, boasting an impressive 20% boost in yield since embarking on their beekeeping journey. While this might sound too good to be true, similar reports validate the magnitude of enhanced coffee yields. In fact, a researcher from the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) has gone so far as to encourage farmers to engage in beekeeping to increase their coffee production. 

Beekeeping as a part of community diversification and resilience

Beyond the direct advantages of increased income and coffee yields, the introduction of beekeeping has fostered further diversification within the Rwenzori Rural Talent community. Members have utilised the additional income to venture into other endeavours, such as purchasing chickens, pigs and goats. Members like Eva, who’s bees and goats we reported on in lockdown. By expanding their income and food sources, they have effectively spread risk and increased their overall resilience in the face of potential challenges. 

The success of the beekeeping project in Rwenzori Rural Talent serves as an inspiring example of how a small initiative can have transformative effects on rural communities.