Experts in apiculture have challenged the government to control rising deforestation and the use of agrochemicals by Ugandans – arguing the practices were detrimental to bees and therefore the country’s food production. This as Uganda joined the rest of the world to commemorate world beekeeping day.
According to the Uganda Bureau of Statistics, there are an estimated 1.2 million beekeepers in Uganda. Despite these numbers, the production of honey and its byproducts remains low. For instance, Uganda produces 12,400 metric tons of honey, 80 metric tons of bee wax and 500,000 propolis tincture annually.
These figures are below the target of 500,000 metric tons of honey projected in the Ministry of Agriculture policy statement for FY2019/2020.
Apiculture experts attribute the low production to keeping bees on a small scale, habitant destruction, low sensitization by government but also the small budget allocations.
The Uganda National Apiculture Development organization was formed in 2003 to organize and coordinate players in the apiculture sector.
The organization is concerned that increased deforestation and use of chemicals in fields is destroying habitats for bees.
Birungi Phionah the programs manager at the Organization says there is need by Government to step up efforts to save bees – since the insects are responsible for pollinating 75% of the country’s crops.
As Uganda joined the rest of the world to mark world beekeeping day under the theme; Bee engaged, bee farmers have been tasked to take care of their apiary to ensure quality honey since poor quality means no international market for the product. Farmers were also urged to embrace the planting of multipurpose trees like Coffee, Sheer trees, cashew nuts, Macadamia among others which are great foods for bees.