Thursday, 20 May 2010

Beekeeping in Uganda – Assistance and Training

In May 2010 Tim Allen paid a return visit to Uganda. He takes up the story…

Last summer the Allen family (Tim & Janet, Olivia, Natasha and Ben) Ugandan children spent three weeks in Uganda (see report here). We all enjoyed a wonderful experience bringing home fond memories of the country and its people. Even before we returned home I promised myself to try and return and support the work ACET are doing by helping with the development of beekeeping as a means of alleviating poverty.

At the end of last year a group of beekeepers from St James began to meet to brainstorm and recommend the best way to establish one or more beekeeping projects. These meetings were very useful by identifying potential issues and difficulties and formulating appropriate approaches designed to avoid these problems.  Accordingly, my trip combined activities related to fact-finding, delivery of training and supply of equipment.

In the first week of my trip I travelled up to Gulu in the north of

Location of Gulu
Uganda where ACET have a small office (headed by Stella Ateko) which we had visited previously.  Stella, her team and I spent two days in a village within an area predominantly populated by family groups displaced by the LRA during the civil war (now thankfully over).

Pastor Richard receiving beekeeping equipment from Tim This photograph is of a variety of beekeeping equipment being handed over to Pastor Richard, the village’s local pastor.  At the end of the training the villagers agreed a plan to establish a small training apiary containing four to six hives to be followed by an expansion to around 100 hives in various apiaries in the fields surrounding the village.  The interest and ambition of the (potential) beekeepers attending was most encouraging.Gulu beekeepers

Location of Iganga

In my second week I travelled to Iganga to meet with a number of CFE (Centre for Evangelism) people. Over the two days of training I was able to demonstrate the use of the type of hive which has become popular in Uganda as well as giving an  introduction to the principles of beekeeping.

Finally I visited several of Iganga beekeepersthe farms -  which have already be chosen to receive the first batch of hives – to discuss the siting of the hives. The considerations that are most important relate to shade and temperature and to safe distance from houses and people. (African bees tend to be a lot more aggressive than the bees we have in England.)

Bishop Paul has expressed CFE’s strong desire to introduce beekeeping to all of the 70 or so parishes in his diocese and I have no doubt that the Iganga bee project will develop quickly and successfully.

I am now hoping to return to Uganda later this year to see how the work in Gulu and Iganga is progressing.