Covid19 hasn’t stopped beekeeping activity for the Jireh Women Beekeepers in Kisoro Uganda. They have been busy painting their Bee Haven where they store shared beekeeping equipment such as protective clothing and honey buckets. They use a local design of hive made from wicker covered in mud and dung, it’s just like wattle and daub. At the large end there is a woven cover which is removed when it’s time to harvest. The hive is placed horizontally with the bees coming and going at the other end.
Throughout sub-Saharan Africa local hive types predominate, they cost a fraction of the cost of top bar hives and work every bit as well. However, top bar hives are easier to manage particularly when it comes to harvesting.
At Bees Abroad we deploy a mixture of top bar hives and local, traditional hives. A fundamental part of our approach is to use “appropriate technology” and local, affordable materials.
Hive selection, however, only takes us so far. Long-term dedicated training programmes coupled with supportive, enthusiastic community groups is critically important to successful sustainable beekeeping.
The Jireh Women’s Group is an excellent blueprint for our new Beekeepers For Life initiatives in other parts of Uganda. For new Beekeeper For Life communities starting out on their beekeeping journeys hearing and seeing the experiences of the Jireh Women’s Group provides great motivation and optimism. The Bee Haven at Jireh demonstrates that over a few years women beekeepers can develop their own community facility, set the agenda for their own hives and supplement their incomes.