RETIRED MEDICAL OFFICER THRIVES IN BEEKEEPING
He has been able to earn over ten million shillings from honey harvesting this year.
By Willbroad Onencan
GULU: Mr. Okwii Ronald, 62, a retired senior nursing officer, is reaping big from beekeeping following his retirement.
Mr. Okwii, who is a resident of Bar Dege Layibi Division in Gulu City, explains that he has harvested honey twice this year because of the conducive environment.
‘’I have been able to earn over ten million shillings from honey harvesting this year, and this is due to the conducive environment,’’ he said.
Mr. Okwii told this publication in an exclusive interview that he planted fruit varieties such as jackfruit, pawpaw, and avocados in order to improve the quality of the honey produced.
‘’Fruits such as jackfruit, pawpaw, and avocado help bees produce good honey, which forced me to plant them. I also sell honey to retailers, and fruits supplement my income,’’ he said.
Mr. Okwii, who has over 150 beehives in Gulu and Nwoya farms, encouraged local farmers to venture into bee farming in order to protect the environment through smart agriculture.
How bee farming has changed his life
According to Mr. Okwii, he has been able to pay school fees for all his children.
‘’All my children have graduated, and this has impressed me as a parent. I have bought enough land for agricultural productivity as a way to fight food insecurity,’’ he asserted.
The bee farmer explains that one of the constraints hindering the smooth production of honey is bush burning, as well as the mindset and negative attitude within the community where he lives.
According to Okwii, apiaries are only an assuring deal, and he adds that they are very simple to manage as they do not require big capital or big land. The future of beekeeping can accommodate even vulnerable people.
“I want to construct a resource training center that will give the opportunity to other destitute youths, including those who have turned the life of our community upside down, and my major objective is to train as many farmers across the Acholi subregion,’’ he reiterated.
The Programs Assistant at the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCU), Ms. Ogwok Gertrude, disclosed that Mr. Okwi is an expert in beekeeping.
She however encouraged bee farmers to plant organic crops that can attract bees during pollination in order to acquire quality honey.
Ms. Ogwok emphasized the need for farmers to practice afforestation to fight climatic change, which is taking root and a danger to beekeeping, adding that there is a need to keep the environment safe to get adequate honey during harvest.
‘’Let’s desist from bush burning and plant enough trees; they attract bees’ pollination, thus increasing the production of honey,’’ she said.
Ms. Ogwok further noted that one way of improving the capacity building of bee farming is through regular mindset change training, adding that it’s an important tool for the development of ideas towards modern bee farming.
According to her, it’s also one of the best methods of environmental protection through the smart agriculture approach.
Honey is useful for human beings, and it works as medicine and is useful to women to improve their memory and prevent several cancers.
In Uganda, honey production potential is enormous, estimated at 500,000 metric tons per year, but this potential has not yet been fully exploited.
The Ugandan Beekeepers Association estimates that only 800-1200 metric tons of honey are produced per year due to the current lack of bee stock.
Do you have a story about your community or an opinion to share with us? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.