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What You Should Know Before Starting Bee Keeping

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Although beekeeping is one of the oldest farming practices, most farmers still practice it traditionally, hence not harvesting much.

According to Alice Kangave, a beekeeper and former entomologist at the agriculture ministry, apiary can be practiced from anywhere, in any space.

In Uganda, apiary is practised countrywide. For a beginner, all you need are 10 modern or local beehives.

The 10-20 hives each can produce at least 10-20kg of pure honey in a year, which translates into 100-200kg per year.

At sh15,000 per kilogramme at farm gate price, this translates into sh1.5-3m from the 10 hives. In fact, you can get back the total investment after just one year, yet input in form of labour is low.

Bees have few predators and are not attacked by diseases, so you do not need to buy medicines for them.

A beehive remains colonised for as long as its structure is still right.

Bees multiply and create new ones often. A hive can last for as many as 10 years, as long as it is well-maintained.

Cost of the enterprise

Depending on where you get them, each Kenyan Top Bar (KTB) hive can cost you at least sh100,000. Langstroth hives cost sh200,000 each. Local hives cost as low as sh40,000

If you do not have enough space, you can set up stands, with each taking three or four hives.

This means that for 10 hives, you only need three stands. To construct these wooden stands, you need less than sh100,000.

The other requirements include a beekeeper’s suit, which costs sh150,000.

This is worn by the beekeeper during supervision/harvesting. You also need a bee smoker, which you can get at sh50,000, a hive knife at sh10,000, a bee brush at sh10,000 and a honey harvesting pail at sh20,000, among others.

Overall, one can start a modern 10-20 hive apiary enterprise with sh2.5m.

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