“I started this bee keeping when I was still a small boy. We were using local materials. But by around 2006 the President, Mr. Museveni started talking a lot about bee keeping and fruit farming. I listened to the talk shows and I straight away started doing this as a project. Then we joined the NAADS (National Agricultural Advisory Services) programme around 2012. There were few people interested in some of these programmes. So, they suggested that someone should be identified, and this person should provide a site for demonstration. Luckily, I was selected. I was given 11 hives. Then I started increasing the number. As of now, we are talking of 60 colonies and I have three sites.”
The Life as Beekeeper
Who belongs to your family / who is living with you?
My name is Sam Okuayakaka Ekule. I come from Odupi sub-county. I’m married with about 15 children. I have sent all of them to school using money raised from bee keeping and fruit farming. One is now married and two others are doing vocational training.
How has beekeeping changed your life?
Bee keeping has changed my life greatly. That house I’m building there is using money got from selling honey. My children that I said are in school, medication plus support to the family, most of that work is using money from selling honey. So, I have taken bee keeping very seriously.
How do you provide a good environment for your bees?
As you have seen her, I inspect my hives every week.
I clean around the apiary, here I have created a fire line especially to guard against bush fire during this dry season. That is how I provide good environment for the bees
What do trees mean to you and how can they be protected?
One of the things I didn’t state was that, when the President was popularizing the NAADS programme, he was talking about “long term trees” like Tik tree. I planted those. Then he also talked about mangoes, and I planted about 50 improved mango trees. Plus the natural trees, as you can see here in the apiary. These provide good environment for my bees.
What is the most important thing in your life?
The most important thing I have now taken in my life at this advanced age is bee keeping. Now I am not very strong, so I can’t dig and do hard work. But for bee keeping, it is easy, just taking care of their environment and that is not hectic.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
In bee keeping, we have some challenges. One of them is ability to increase production. Then we have things like insects and pests that usually disturb the bees, sometimes causing them to abscond. The hives I have are also now getting old, so I needed to replace them. To overcome these challenges, you
must now look for the solutions. Like for insects and pests, you need to do regular cleaning and other ways to dispel them. The other way is to keep the surrounding clean to avoid them. For the old hives, there are those facilities like you gave to us. Now I need to increase the number.
What do you like to do in your free time?
There are times when I have worked and take time to rest. But during that time, I usually check on the apiary, sometimes when I have just harvested, I would take that time to sort the honey etc. At other times, I would get my family members and talk to them about bee keeping so that they can have knowledge about bee keeping and extend the projec
Which place would you like to see once?
Yes, I’m happy about this question. In fact, I always look forward to that kind of opportunity, especially to go to a place where they do bee keeping on a large scale. I don’t mind whether in Uganda, America, Europe….me I would be happy to go there. I just wish to get more exposure and exchange ideas to grow my bee keeping business