How Wandera’s beekeeping crusade has impacted the community in Masindi

During his final year as a student pursuing a diploma in beekeeping at Nyabyeya Forestry College in Masindi in the western part of the country, Isaac Wandera, 23, decided to put what he studies into practice.

He says that last year, he started beekeeping in Masindi where he studies but as he started his project, he realized the locals were interested in what he was doing.

“The people were willing to start keeping bees but lacked knowledge on how to do it. When I put up four apiaries, I dedicated one of them to the locals who would come to learn how modern beekeeping is done,” Wandera says.

He says whereas farmers can earn a lot of money out of beekeeping, few know about this and those who have ventured into it don’t have the required knowledge.

He says the farmers can earn more from little input and time.

“You can at the same time harvest other products like propolis which has a lot of medical uses and pollen which is more expensive than honey if well processed. It(pollen) is highly nutritious with a lot of protein and vitamins; it also cures many diseases. There is bee venom which is also very expensive on the market. All these products can be got from beekeeping, but few people know about this.”

Wandera says that a farmer needs standard equipment to use like hives, hive stands among others and should also seek guidance from a professional to check for all the qualities of a good apiary.

He says whereas many people in the country are involved in organizing seminars about beekeeping, they only end at the theoretical part of it leaving out many people who would be willing to join.

He says that in Masindi, he went practical by teaching locals how everything is done, and this has seen many acquire skills on how to do it.

“Many families have ventured into beekeeping and are earning a lot of money out of it. It doesn’t require a lot of land to start since you require only a small space for putting the hives then the bees can source nectar from the neighbourhood,” he says.

Making money

Wandera says that he has advised farmers on how to make money from beekeeping even without adulterating it like many dealers do

“Many of these communities have learnt the advantage of selling pure organic honey that fetches more money. Many of those had never thought of beekeeping have many apiaries from which they earn a living,” he says.

He said at first, many used to harvest unripe honey which fetches little money but as he went on teaching them, they have got to learn the tricks on how to do it.

Wandera says one can harvest at least 10 kgs of honey from one hive during each harvest.

“Remember, there are always two harvesting seasons of honey per year. So that is 20 Kgs in one hive per year. So, the ten hives can give you up to 200 kgs of honey per year and 1kg of honey is currently at 33000,” he says

According to Wandera, several families have abandoned other items they were producing like sugarcanes and maize to venture into beekeeping which has kept them afloat.

Taking the honey gospel home

Wandera, a born of Busoga says he intends to transfer the same knowledge to his home area to ensure many other people adopt these new ideas of beekeeping to help them earn some good money.

“I am concentrating a lot in Masindi since it’s where I study my beekeeping but I want to go back to Busoga. Usually, every weekend. I go back to Mayuge where I hail from and here I intend to put up a training facility to help my home people adopt new techniques of beekeeping,” he says.

“Beekeeping is still underdeveloped in Busoga and I want to equip my people with practical skills on how to do it well so that they too can develop,” he says.

Wandera says after studies, he will remain employed in beekeeping so as not to put what he studied to waste.

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