Almost half of Uganda’s population lives below the poverty line. At the same time, nearly 90% of it activates and earns its income from agriculture. Thus it becomes obvious that farming is not profitable in this country, at least not for the moment. Women and children have an especially difficult life, because of the strong social polarization of the society. The overall development level in the region is far below the western standards, and catching up with them would require intense funding. This rule has some exceptions, however, such as beekeeping.
Specialists in the industry made their own research and came to the conclusion that beekeeping has the potential to significantly reduce poverty among communities of young farmers best on the current testimonies and with the implementation of a long-term professional beekeeping industry strategic plan. Let’s shortly analyze the arguments for that:
Uganda is lucky to have many species of bees: Apis Melifera scutelatta, melifera adansonii, monticola, and also several types of stingless bees. In contrast with other agricultural areas, where Uganda has poor natural conditions for further development, the apiculture can grow fast and steady thanks to the rich availability of resources. Moreover, there are no diseases spread among the bees.
2. Long tradition and skills existence
Local people have been practicing apiculture for a very long time. They therefore have basic knowledge and understanding of the process and its importance. Instead of teaching this industry from the very beginning, it is only necessary to provide some further training, and implement a professional beekeeping concept which is based on the real standard governing this organic industry.
3. Limited technological requirements
Beekeeping can be implemented without the use of expensive technologies or materials. This provides a great perspective for the poor rural farmer, who cannot afford to invest too much in a business. Simple hives, created from cheap locally abundant materials could be placed close to the farmer’s house, therefore not requiring too much effort or budgeting. Special training could teach the farmers how to improve the quality of bee products without using expensive tools. This would obviously allow a significant increase of the locals’ income.
4. Possibility of activity without owning land
Since young farmers do not typically own land, one of their main problems is the increased costs of agricultural activities due to the land rent. Beekeeping in contrast, does not require this. It can be arranged either close to the house, or even in forests. In other words, this type of activity is much more accessible for young poor farmers than other areas of agriculture.
Of course, there are also many limitations and barriers for the development of apiculture in Uganda. As long as we keep in mind the benefits, however, it is possible to develop a flourishing industry out of this and let young farmers develop themselves and overcome the severe poverty. All they need is a bit of support in the form of extended training, as well as access to information and initial financial support.