By Patrick Okino
The National Agricultural Research Organization (NARO) is at the advanced stages of multiplying and producing stingless bees for high quality and nutritious honey.
NARO`s National Livestock Resource and Research institute based at Maruzi ranch in Apac district, says stingless bees produce huge amounts of honey and its properties are superior to stingful bees in the community.
Dr Patrice Kasangaki, the principal research officer who heads livestock entomology research program, explained that the spices are in the wide and they will start domesticating and bring them for sustainability.
Dr Kasangaki disclosed the development at the sideline of NARO`s management and supervisory visit at NaLIRRI based at Maruzi ranch in Apac and subsequent welcoming of the new director of the institute, Prof Majalija Samuel recently.
The institute has been upgraded as the headquarters for National Livestock Resource and Research Institute focusing on livestock research. Proj Majalija has been appointed to head the institute.
“Some of these stingless bees produce huge amounts of honey and it has also been proven that properties in stingless bees are superior to those of stingful bee,” he says.
He added that they have been engaged with a number of farmers in Bunyangabu and Kasese districts who have been keeping the spices and selling the colonies.
Training farmers to identify
“We want to multiply them so that they can be accessed as colonies from us but we also have protocols where we shall train farmers how to identify them in the Wide then they get them and transfer them into the hives,” he says.
A report by the ministry of agriculture, animal industry and fisheries indicates that Uganda produces 4000 metric tons of honey per annum and approximately 1.2million people are involved in beekeeping.
However, this is expected to increase to 5,000 metric tons per annum according to Rosemary Ademun, the commissioner in charge of animal resources in the report during the 2022, national honey week.
It was to raise awareness on the importance of beekeeping and its contribution to the improvement of livelihood in the country at large.
Dr Kasangaki says with the new spices which are yet to be domesticated and multiplied by NARO, the production of honey among the farmers will go up.
He added that they are keeping the spices at Nakyesasa NaLIRRI in Wakiso but soon they will transfer it to Maruzi ranch for a serious rearing.
“What are we trying to look at? Productivity has gone down so we are going to select not by altering the gene of the bees or biotechnology but we are going to do what is called selective breeding whereby we are going to select bees with good breeds,” he added.
He says in the process they will select those one which stings a lot and those one which don’t sting a lot but more productive, then they cross-breed.
“That is what we are calling selective breeding, so we look at those one with good breeds and then we multiply and give to farmers,” he says.
He says that its products are very nutritious and also can be used in treatment of many diseases such as lowering blood pressure, sugar and many others.
“That is why we have to come up with the idea so that we keep them so that if a farmer wants tomorrow you just go to where we keep them and you get either than going to hunt them in the bush,” he says.
He says as an entomologist and a bee scientist they don’t look at the economic value of bee in terms of honey but look at it in totality.
He says bees are key pollinators of crops, produce propolis used in treatment of diseases, bee wax used in cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries.
He added that there is also another product, (bee venom) and whenever a bee stings you, it injects in you some poison which has a lot of medicinal properties.
“Actually many people have used it for treatment of arthritis, back-pains and of recent many people used it for treating viral infection and even during COVID-19,” he added.