Beekeeping Could Be Game Changer For Parish Model

The goal of the Parish Development Model (PDM) is to deepen the decentralization process; improve family income; enable inclusive, sustainable, balanced and equitable socio-economic transformation; and increase accountability at the local level.

This implies the eradication of poverty and vulnerability, as well as the total transformation of the subsistence households into the money economy.

It is everyone’s business to ensure that rural communities generate sustainable incomes as quickly as possible. Of the various livestock farms; poultry, fisheries, dairy farming, pig farming, among others beekeeping provides one of the best options for the rural communities and commercial farmers because of the minimum requirements for land, machinery and equipment, labor and capital investment.

The beekeeping revenue potential is estimated at $10,400 per year with project costs of $7,345 and profit margin of 73 percent, thus proving to be a viable project.

In Uganda, the honey production potential is huge, estimated at 500,000 tons per year. This potential is not yet fully exploited. The basic knowledge and skills needed to exploit the honey production potential are lacking among the technocrats and farmers.

Honeybees are social insects that live in colonies of 10,000 to 60,000. A colony consists of a queen (fertile female), a few hundred drones (males) and thousands of workers (sterile females).

As a food source, honey is delicious and rich in energy and vitamins. It can be consumed whole or mixed with other foods as a supplement. Bee brood (larvae and pupae) have a high nutritional value and are fed to malnourished children. Royal jelly and pollen are consumed for their high protein value and it significantly improves food security

Honey is used as a carrier in ayurvedic and unani medicines. It has a laxative effect and prevents colds, coughs and fever. Bee products such as venom, honey and propolis are used to treat many ailments due to the antibiotic nature of the products. Conditions/diseases treated with bee products include stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, wounds, burns, measles, toothaches, and fungal infections.

Chemically, honey is a viscous water solution of sugar. The approximate composition in percentage is as follows: Water 13-20, Fructose 40-50, Glucose 2-3, Minerals Traces, Vitamins (minimal amounts) (B1, B2, C).

Bee venom is anti-inflammatory and is used by humans to relieve pain. It is effective in treating the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, neuralgia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and even multiple sclerosis hence great potential for revenue generation.

Honeybees provide pollination services and therefore play a vital role in food production and overall agricultural productivity.

More than 75 percent of all crops in sub-Saharan Africa benefit from pollination.

Bees are considered the most efficient pollinators because they have hairy bodies, which easily pick up pollen grains as they move around in flowers. In a single day, a bee can visit several hundred flowers.

Beekeeping is a non-destructive activity that can be used to conserve plant biodiversity in natural ecosystems. Households living near these areas can support conservation efforts of these resources by establishing apiaries within or on the fringes of these protected areas. More so, beeswax can be used in candle making, preparation of varnishes and paints, waterproofing and waxing threads. Honey is used to make alcoholic beverages, beauty lotions, and poison baits for certain high-paying insect pests.

To wrap it up, PDM is the last mile strategy for government service to improve the incomes and well-being of all Ugandans at the family level, which should be maximized by encouraging farmers to practice beekeeping.

The African Development Bank and the Government of Uganda, through the Farm Income Enhancement and Forest Conservation (FIEFOC) project, under the Apiculture Promotion sub-component, have embarked on a series of interventions, standardization of the national training document through the National Bee Keeping Training and Extension Manual, which must be strongly implemented in the context of the PDM.

Beekeeping will greatly contribute to achieving Vision 2040, which aims to transform Ugandan society from a farmer to a modern and prosperous country.

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