“I was motivated because during NAADS programme, government gave us some hives as a group. I offered the site for the group, but still I was not interested. However, I had a friend who started keeping bees immediately while we abandoned the group site. This friend insisted that we keep bees. To prove his seriousness, he even donated to me a colonized bee hive. Somehow, I said let me try. Then we did the first harvest. I got money in my pocket. Then the second harvest, I got good money and put it in my pocket. Then I realized this thing had money because every year that friend of mine would get good money. So, I decided to go and get a loan from Centenary Bank. I used that loan to buy 30 hives. From that time, I would earn millions of shillings. So that has motivated me to stick to bee-keeping.”
The Life as Beekeeper
Who belongs to your family / who is living with you?
I’m Quintino. This place is in Logiri. Right now, we are 5 in the home, me, my wife and 3 of my children.
How has beekeeping changed your life?
Over time, the benefits I have realized from bee keeping are good. In most cases I can pay school fees for my children easily. Since 2009 after I got motivated, and bought the 30 hives, the harvests have been very good, I did get good income and that has kept me going on with beekeeping.
How do you provide a good environment for your bees?
After my hives have colonized, my work is really to keep inspecting the hives, cleaning the apiary, ensure they are not attacked by pests etc. Also to ensure as many hives colonize as possible. Sometimes you apply wax to attract them. They look for their food because there are many trees around.
What do trees mean to you and how can they be protected?
Trees are important to me for the beekeeping project. First, bees need shade. That is why I protect those trees. But sometimes I cut some of them if they are creating too much shade for the trees, because bees also need access to sunlight. To protect them, I ensure no one cuts them. That is how I protect the trees around here.
What is the most important thing in your life?
I believe in God, and I always pray that God gives me wealth, although what God has given me is not sufficient, but I trust in him. Secondly, I believe in myself. In my working life, you can see I have a coffee garden, I have trees, I have the beekeeping project and other crops from the garden, but there is nothing I have found more important than beekeeping.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
I lack man power to operate optimally. My work force is there, but not adequate. Most of my children are still in school, so their support is still little. Then from the harvests from the gardens, the returns are not adequate. I need more money to work. To overcome that challenge, I think I have to step up the beekeeping project again. I am left with fewer hives, so I needed additional 20 or 30 hives that I can take to another site to increase production.
What do you like to do in your free time?
When I come back from garden work and I find some free time like this, I go and check on my apiary and move around it, even if I don’t do much work
Which place would you like to see once?
Unfortunately, I have not moved all over Uganda, but at least I have gone that far. Before I die, I wanted to round Uganda. Secondly, I wanted to reach other parts of Africa. Lastly, I wish I could reach Europe.