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Beekeepers will need certificates in the proposed new tough rules

By Allan Mungai | June 4th 2021
Bakari Musa Mushenga (L) from Savannah Honey inspect the apiary belonging to Joseph Vita Nabella (R) at his farm located Sabatia area in Vihiga County. [Nanjinia Wamuswa, Standard]

It will be illegal to keep bees for commercial purposes unless in an apiary if a government-backed Bill is passed by Parliament.

The Livestock Bill, 2021 sponsored by Majority Leader Amos Kimunya contains several provisions with far-reaching implications on bee keepers.

It proposes tighter regulation on the practice of apiculture, specifically the farmer maintaining the bees, the location and type of hives.

Should it become law, beekeepers will have to register and acquire a licence from the county government before setting up a hive.

The government seeks to prescribe type of hives and brand which farmers will use. The Ministry of Agriculture will also impose restrictions on the land to be used as an apiary.

It will be illegal for a farmer to keep bees for commercial purposes or own beekeeping equipment without a certificate of registration, which shall be renewed annually.

Beekeepers will also be required to registered their land as apiaries. “A person shall not allow bees to be kept on land owned or occupied by the person unless the land is registered as the location of an apiary,” the Bill states.

Farmers who defy the regulations face a Sh500,000 fine or a prison term not exceeding one year or both.

However, farmers who keep bees specifically for pollination will not be required to register if the bees are disposed of within eight weeks.

The Bill also prescribes the hives that farmers will use for their bees. Every hive owned by a beekeeper shall be branded with a registered brand.

Additionally, the government requires that hives are not placed within 30 metres of a property line separating land occupied as a dwelling, community centre or a place of recreation, or within 10 metres of a highway.

The Bill gives the county executive committee member for agriculture power to declare premises unsafe for beekeeping if they are convinced that the beehives or bees are a nuisance or a danger to public health.

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