Government seeks to streamline beekeeping

Beekeeper at work. [iStockphoto]

The government has moved to boost quality of honey by developing a residue monitoring plan that shall enhance traceability and compliance with the export market requirements.

Regulations on beekeeping will also be anchored in the National Livestock Bill.

Speaking during the World Bee Day celebration in Kajiado town Monday, Livestock Principal Secretary Jonathan Mueke said through collaboration, the government seeks to attain greater and sustainable economic growth, not only in the beekeeping industry but in the agricultural sector through the advancement of food and nutritional security.

The regulations will provide a framework for coordination and guidelines in the bee industry to enhance sustainable growth and boost livelihoods.

"Bees are vital to the health of the environment and are valued globally for the ecosystem services that they provide such as pollination. Pollination plays a significant role in the agriculture sector and serves as a basic pillar for food production," explained Mueke.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), estimates that close to 75 per cent of the world's crops producing fruits and seeds for human consumption depend on pollinators for sustained production.

"To increase production of honey and other bee products, we are collaborating with stakeholders and development partners in implementing a number of projects in various counties. Key among these initiatives include; Kenya Livestock Commercialization Project; National Agricultural Value Chain Development Project; Food Systems Resilience Project and Towards Ending Drought Emergencies," said the PS.

Mueke revealed that to enhance capacity building, a national competency-based curriculum for various levels has been developed in collaboration with the Technical, Vocational Education Training Authority (TVETA) under the Ministry of Education.

"In addition, plans are underway to improve infrastructure at the National Beekeeping Institute in preparation to commence formal apicultural training at various levels including certificate and diploma courses," he said.

Apiculture is an important enterprise within the livestock sub-sector, particularly in the arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya, where about 25 per cent of the population live and depend on livestock for their livelihood.

"Currently, apiculture’s contribution to the agricultural GDP is estimated at Sh17 billion annually. There is a need, therefore, to enhance investment in this important industry to boost production and strengthen coordination so as to reposition it for faster growth," said Mueke.

Kajiado Governor Joseph Ole Lenku said his government recognises the importance of partnerships with stakeholders along various value chains of honey production.

"Kajiado County has significant potential for honey production. We are mobilising resources to promote the bee value chain, making beekeeping a viable source of income and nutrition. Our climate-proof environment initiative aims to restore rangelands and increase tree cover, creating a conducive environment for beekeeping," said Lenku.

"We are also strengthening the bee value chain through the establishment and supporting beekeeping village groups to increase production of beehive products used in various industrial and medicinal products," he added.