Members of pastoralist communities in Isiolo County have been urged to embrace beekeeping as an alternative source of livelihood, amid rise in market demand for honey from the region.
Speaking during a capacity building meeting organized by E4Impact and the County Government of Isiolo for groups interested in beekeeping in Garbatula Sub County, the County beekeeping officer Mathew Verono noted that there was a rise in demand for honey from the region due to presence of indigenous trees where bees derive nectar, yet there were few farmers practising beekeeping in the region.
He called upon the locals to consider investing in beekeeping as a sure way of earning revenue, while also providing an alternative source of livelihood instead of relying on livestock that are also prone to death once drought strikes.
Verono noted that the honey refinery in Isiolo town sorely relies on honey from other Counties like Tharaka Nithi and Meru to keep it going, since Isiolo County produces very little honey despite the huge potential it possesses.
The Project Officer at E4Impact Leonard Ekea said that through the building Drought Resilience in Isiolo County (DRIC) project that is being funded by the European Union, the organization is committed to sensitize the local community and capacity build them to embark on honey value chain development in order to tap into the largely unexploited sector.
He noted that there is a good market for honey from the region, but the challenge lies in production. Ekea further said that in partnership with the County Government of Isiolo, the organization is also seeking to bring together individual beekeepers and also groups that do beekeeping to come up with aggregation centres so that all the honey produced in various parts of the County can be collected and refined together, arguing that beekeepers will get better returns on their investment if the honey volumes are big enough for sale even to the international market.
Irine Nkunja, a reknowned beekeeper, trainer and mentor encouraged women to consider venturing into the beekeeping sector instead of just relying on their spouses to provide for their household.
Various groups and individuals interested in beekeeping in Kinna ward converged at the Malka Bisanadi cultural village and received training on modern ways of beekeeping for optimal production of honey and other products such as pollen, propolis, wax and royal jelly among others.