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Progressive bee farmer discourages spraying locust

By Hudson Apunyo

Added 20th February 2020 10:33 AM

Tom Anyii Okello, the executive director of Trained Apiary Farmers Mixed Farm, says spraying the locusts will destroy many other insects like bees.

Progressive bee farmer discourages spraying locust

Tom Anyii Okello displays one of the products from his bees. Photo by Hudson Apunyo

Tom Anyii Okello, the executive director of Trained Apiary Farmers Mixed Farm, says spraying the locusts will destroy many other insects like bees.

 
LIRA - A progressive bee farmer in Lira district is concerned that spraying desert locusts is not necessary and that they would rather be left to eat whatever they can and move on.
 
Tom Anyii Okello, the executive director of Trained Apiary Farmers Mixed Farm located in Ngetta sub-county outside Lira town, says spraying the desert locusts using aircraft will destroy many other insects, particularly the honey bees.  
 
Anyii, one of the 2017 best farmers under Vision Group's Harvest Money national competition, is worried that the decision to spray the desert locusts will be disastrous. He said the locusts would rather eat the mangoes and go.
 
"I am only praying to the Ministry of Agriculture. Let us not spray these locusts. You would rather leave the locusts to eat our mangoes, then go so that we remain with bees," he said.  
 
Anyii said the Government would rather use the hand sprays. 
 
Government plans to use aircraft to spray the desert locusts that entered the country from Kenya early this month. 
 
The locusts have now covered several districts in Karamoja, Teso, Lango and Acholi sub-regions. 
 
A large swarm invaded Otuke on Sunday February 16 and and army personnel used hand pumps to spray them. However, many more swarms have since entered the country.
 
Anyii was briefing a team of donors and local government officials who were on a monitoring visit to his farm. 
 
He also said Uganda is talking of oil every day and yet honey is more expensive compared to oil. 
 
He called on the Government to train more beekeepers so that production improves because bees aid in pollination and better health. 
 
"All the bee products are medicinal. If all Ugandans were using only honey without sugar, we would be healthier and more productive," he said. 
 
Anyii said he started his farm in 2008 when he was a sub-county chief but prospered and decided to resign from civil service in 2013. "I am now stress-free, I get money on a daily basis, at least every morning I must get a coin unlike civil servants who get money at the end of the month," he said.
  
He explained that his life in farming started after a retreat at the National Leadership Institute in Kyankwanzi for economic transformation workshop in 2007 when the government decided to take all sub county chiefs for the training.  
 
He was confused when he visited a commercial farm owned by a lady in Masaka and decided to emulate the farming methods of the lady. 
 
He started his farm with only sh600, 000, planting one hundred oranges and ten bee hives but now has more than 1000 oranges and 1500 oranges. 
 
Anyii who is now acclaimed bee keeper is planning to open a honey factory in his farm to add value to his products and is also opening agritourism park. He is also training other young farmers and students to look at farming as a business.
 
He said he is doing all these to create employment and transform people. 
 
At the moment he is making combed honey, processed honey, honey wine, bee wax and soon will proceed to other products. 
 
In 2017, Anyii who was one of New Vision Best Farmers, was taken to the Netherlands on a study tour from where he said he learnt a lot.

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