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Youth Urged To Embrace Beekeeping

by Jacquiline Nakandi
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By Patrick Okino

At least 700 youth in Lango and Acholi sub-regions are set to receive 10 beehives each and training in beekeeping to boost honey production and increase its quality for the international market.

Robert Okodia, the chief executive officer of Barkman Best Bees company, who is also one of Vision Group’s Best Farmers, says they are partnering with MasterCard Foundation and Hot Loaf Bakery to provide the skills.

He said their aim is to empower youth economically and also increase production of honey for export. When Okodia visited the Netherlands in 2016, his market for honey widened across the world.

During the handover of 500 beehives to youth groups at Wiodyek Primary School in Wiodyek, Lira district on April 7, Okodia said out of the category they have identified, 70% will be women.

“We shall sign a binding contract with you which allows you to sell the honey to us,” he noted.

During the ceremony, which was presided over by presidential advisor and former lands minister Sam Engola, Okodia said the agreement would last for sometime, because what they are interested in as a company is to ensure that both parties grow in the honey business.

He added that breach of contract will compel the company to withdraw hives and give them to other compliant youth.

Okodia said Hot Loaf Bakery is also interested in honey for making bread.

“They make 30,000 loaves of bread daily, which means they will need 1,000kg of honey daily from us,” he added.

Earn from beekeeping

Engola called on the youth to embrace beekeeping as the best option to drive poverty out of their households.

“Beekeeping is more profitable compared to growing maize. You harvest three times in a year and earn sh1.5m from 10 hives,” he added.

He advised beneficiaries to look after the hives properly in order to realise A good harvest.

Engola added that the Government has introduced many programmes, such as the Parish Development Model (PDM), Youth Livelihood Programme and the Uganda Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme, but it has had little impact in the lives of people.

“The current programme being implemented is PDM. When you listen to how people are using the money, you will shade tears and yet President Yoweri Museveni is working to see people’s lives improve,” he said.

Fernand Acai, one of the beneficiaries, said they have formed a co-operative — Mid North Honey Multipurpose Co-operative — to boost honey production and help in the fight against poverty.

He said the co-operative will serve both Lango and Acholi sub-regions, with a focus on establishing a honey collection centre and marketing it to Barkman.

LEAD PHOTO CAPTION: Presidential advisor and former lands minister Sam Engola (in blue suit) handing over beehives. Photo by Patrick Okino

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