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. 

Sweet Knowledge – How Honey Pays for Education

Sweet Knowledge – How Honey Pays for Education

June 28, 2023

About the Rwenzori Rural Talent community

In the lush landscapes of Uganda’s Rwenzori region lies a community called Rwenzori Rural Talent. Established as a Bees Abroad project in 2020, this community reached out for help to support its mission to empower rural women and children through economic empowerment, skill development, and improved health standards. 

Among its many endeavours, one stands out as a sweet solution to a pressing issue: using the income from honey production to cover the costs of education. In a country where access to quality education can be a financial burden for many families, Rwenzori Rural Talent has found that the income from hives covers can cover the cost of school, and quantified it. 

Financial Costs of Education in the Rwenzori Community

Education plays a crucial role in shaping the future of individuals and communities. In Uganda, education is extremely highly valued in the culture. However, financial constraints remain a significant hurdle for many families, especially in rural areas. The costs associated with school fees, uniforms, books, and other supplies can place a heavy burden on households already struggling to make ends meet. 

Financial Costs of Education in the Rwenzori Community 

In the Rwenzori community, the financial costs of education can vary depending on the level of schooling. For primary education, fees range between UGX 200,000 and 300,000 per term. Secondary education, on the other hand, can cost between UGX 500,000 and 700,000 per term, with three terms in a year. For families with limited resources, these expenses can seem insurmountable, leaving many children unable to continue their education. 

Honey as a tool to enable community aims

Rwenzori Rural Talent turned to beekeeping to generate reliable income to support their community aims. With a vision to uplift rural women and children, this community project focuses on empowering its members with beekeeping skills to promote economic empowerment, improve health standards, and establish a sustainable microeconomic enterprise. 

With the support of Bees Abroad and our local partner LIDEOF, honey production has proven to be a viable and profitable enterprise, thanks to the region’s favourable climate and abundant flora. With each colony producing approximately 10 kilograms of honey per year, the community project calculated that by maintaining five colonies, they could yield between UGX 500,000 and 750,000 annually. The income from five hives covers the cost of primary school fees for one child for one year.  

By empowering Rwenzori Rural Talent, this community project has created a sustainable source of income that addresses the financial challenges associated with education in rural areas.

Follow along and join in with your own beeswax stories in the comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!