OVER 350 beehives were distributed in villages surrounding Singita Grumeti Reserve. The Community Outreach Programme Coordinator, Mr Richard Ndaskoi, said beekeeping is gaining momentum in villages around the Reserve.
Mr Ndaskoi, who was briefing the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ambassador Khamis Kagasheki, who was in Mara region to inspect community development projects implemented by Singita Grumeti Reserve, said one litre of honey now sells at 10,000/- and many people, including hotel guests, buy the honey .
He said that training on beekeeping is offered at the institute established in the area that takes in secondary students for weekly short courses on environment and conservation. The institute has a modern beehive made of wood and glass for practical beekeeping lessons.
Mr Ndaskoi said villagers have ready markets from visitors who willingly buy the honey for 10,000/- per litre.
He added that the project has helped conserve the environment by doing away with bushfires, which was not only a threat to the environment, but also wild animals. Villagers no longer light bushfires as they fear burning the beehives. "This is a big project going on currently in the communities and is expanding rapidly, making it popular among community members for its source of income," he added.
Minister Kagasheki said the beekeeping business is not being taken seriously enough despite the fact that it does not require major start-up capital. He confessed that his ministry has not put a lot of effort in promoting the industry as the easiest to start and operate, and the huge market for honey available within and outside the country.
"The Prime Minister is also in the beekeeping business and he has put a lot of effort in promoting the industry, but I must confess, we still have a lot to do, to ensure the public really understand that it is the easiest and cheapest business venture to establish, with huge returns," he explained.