By Ronald Kalyango
President Yoweri Museveni has called for increased honey production to meet the country’s production potential.
According to the President, farmers across the country produce 26,000 metric tonnes, a figure which is far below the country’s production potential of 500,000 metric tonnes of honey annually.
As a result, the President has directed the ministry of agriculture to expeditiously formulate the national apiculture policy to enable the country harness its production potential.
“In our review of strengthening the extension system in the country, each district will have an entomologist who as part of their mandate will be responsible for promoting beekeeping in the district,” said President Museveni in a speech read by the 2nd deputy premier, Gen. Moses Ali.
Jackson Jarua, the chairman of Uganda National Apiculture Organisation, State minister for animal husbandry, Bright Rwamirama and the 2nd Deputy Prime Minister, Gen. Moses Ali inspecting some of the produced honey at Kati Kati grounds. Photo/ Ronald Kalyango
He was on Thursday speaking during the opening ceremony of the 5th National honey show at Kati Kati grounds in Kampala.
The event which attracted over 100 exhibitors was organised by the Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation (TUNADO) under the theme-‘Beekeeping for human and environmental health’.
“Bees are important in pollinating our crops, plants thus contributing to food security, household income and biodiversity conservation,” explained the President.
“Honey is food and has medicinal properties in the treatment of cough, wounds and measles. Honey is also used in bakery and brewing like honey wine,” he added.
The state minister for animal husbandry, Bright Rwamirama explained that bee keeping industry employs 1.2 million people in the country and generates an estimated income of sh120bn annually.
“Ugandan honey now dominates the local market by 85% and soon we shall fill up the market and increase honey export,” he explained.
“Quality of Ugandan honey is already certified for the European Union market, I am convinced to note that the market of honey and other bee hive products is wider beyond the boundaries and contributes to the foreign exchange earnings of the country,” he explained.
Rwamirama urged the youth to get involved in bee keeping saying that it is neither labour nor capital intensive.
“What you need to acquire are bee hives, site them in an apiary and do other things as bees make money for you by producing honey and also pollinating your crops for increased crop production,” he explained.
Gloria Androa is one of the farmers who have embraced the value addition process of honey into proper packaging materials.
She explained that a farmer can harvest honey and other bee hives products twice a year. A kilogram of processed honey costs sh10,000 and from a modern bee hive, Kenya Top Bar, with proper management, a farmer can harvest approximately 40kgs of honey annually.
“Farmers earn about sh400,000 from one hive, if you have 10 KTB hives, it means a farmer is in position to earn sh4m from bee farming alone,” she explained.
The chairman of TUNADO, Jackson Jurua noted that there is need to regulate the industry and enhance enforcement to protect consumers and traders from unfair competition.
He also noted that there is need to waive some taxes from inputs used in production of honey.
“Taxation on inputs and imported packaging materials like the food grade stainless steel drums recommended for export of honey makes our products uncompetitive in the market,” he explained.
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