Kirinyaga Governor Anne Waiguru has distributed 456 bee hives to farmers’ groups in a bid to help them boost their honey production capacity.
A total of 19 groups, each comprising about 24 members, were each given 24 Kenya top-bar bee hives and two honey harvesting kits.
While distributing the hives in Kianjiru, Gichugu Constituency, Governor Waiguru said that the launch of bee keeping project, which is part of the Wezesha Kirinyaga economic empowerment programme, will enable farmers to diversify on their agricultural activities in order to increase their incomes.
She said that the project was informed by the huge deficit in meeting the demand for honey both in the county and the country at large, noting that there has been widespread awareness about the health benefits of consuming honey, especially after the outbreak of Covid-19.
“This project, therefore, seeks to harness beekeeping by supporting the farmers to exploit the untapped potential in apiculture,” Ms Waiguru said.
She noted that one of the advantages of bee keeping is one does not require a huge piece of land for the venture, thus making it suitable for youth and women. It also requires little capital since one can start with even two hives, she said, adding that one can also utilise land that is not suitable for tilling to keep bees.
Ms Waiguru noted that beekeeping also contributes to the quantity and quality of crops through pollination.
She pointed out that through the bee keeping project, each of the supported groups is expected to produce up to 30 kilogrammes of honey per hive and sell it at Sh800 per kilo, earning about Sh576,000 annually.
In Kirinyaga County, there are currently about 13,000 bee hives which include longstroth, Kenya top-bar bee hive and the traditional log hives which all produce about 359 tonnes of honey annually.
The governor observed that Kenya produces an estimated 11,000 metric tonnes of honey and around two tons of bee wax annually, only attaining 20 per cent of its potential.
She revealed that the beekeeping programme will incorporate more groups in subsequent phases so as increase honey production.