“The culture of bee keeping here was started by my late farther. He used to place traditional pots and bees colonise it. Then, he would harvest the honey and we just eat it at home. After his death, I maintained that culture.
Every year, I would also harvest honey and we just eat it at home until one day a neighbor came and informed me that there is market for honey. When I learnt about that, I was excited. That now motivated me. I visited my neighbor’s local apiary. He also had six local pots from which he would harvest his honey. We now became close friends and we started thinking about improving our bee keeping practices. That was when we got training from Honey Pride and we were also given hives on loan. We now started selling our honey to Honey Pride and that was giving us good money.
That is how I got into serious bee keeping.“
The Life as Beekeeper
Who belongs to your family / who is living with you?
My name is Amagu Francis. My village is Karaa, my parish is Okavu, Katrini sub-county, Terego District. I am married with 4 children. I also take care of my mother and a younger brother. So we are about 8 members in the family.
How has beekeeping changed your life?
Before I knew about Honey Pride, we were just eating our honey at home. But since I started selling honey to Honey Pride, I can now get good money to support the family. I am a community drug provider, so some of the money also helps me to support my drug business, especially to raise capital to buy stocks. The money I have raised from selling honey has also helped me to start raising that wall over there. By next year, I want that house to be complete, so that when you visit the apiary again, you would be sitting on the veranda comfortably.
How do you provide a good environment for your bees?
I provide good environment for the bees by keeping the apiary very clean. At night when people are enjoying sleep. I am out here cleaning the apiary. We have plenty of trees around and the bees forage on them for food. They look for their water etc. I have also planted live fence here so that in future the place becomes very secure
What do trees mean to you and how can they be protected?
These are my natural friends. I get oxygen from them, I get firewood from them and most of them are medicines, herbal medicines. For example, this mango, when you pound the pod and mix in water and drink, it will stop diarrhea immediately. And the guava tree, when you boil the leaves together with eucalyptus leaves, it also treats cough and common cold. So, I take care of the trees by pruning them, as you can see here, cleaning under and ensuring no one comes in to cut them.
What is the most important thing in your life?
Hard work. I would like to live a good life, stay in a nice, well-furnished house and I would like to afford some transport so that all my activities run normally.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
There are challenges of pests. I also have challenge with neighbors. They are complaining. Actually when the hives are nearly ready for harvest, the bees become aggressive and often they attack neighbors.
In fact, one time, a fox attacked my chicken within the apiary. Then as the chicken escaped, they jumped on top of hives and that agitated the bees and they caused a big problem around here.
Another challenge I have is that of transport, especially transporting the honey from here to the trading center and then to your offices. But generally, there is the problem of poverty, there is no money. That makes life hard. Over coming all these problems is tough. However, to overcome the problem of neighbors, I have now planted live fence here so that in future the place becomes very secure. As for transport, I plan to construct a road up to home so that vehicles can access my home. Since you can provide transport for farmers, that will be very helpful. Now poverty, that is a long term plan. May be I can save money from bee keeping.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I am a community drug provider. During my leisure time, I am in my drug shop, providing drugs to the community.
Which place would you like to see once?
I would love to reach places like America, India and Europe. But now the challenge is who is to take me there. Yeah, in my dream I should reach there.