“This project was started by my father, then I joined him. When he started, I realized that he was getting some benefit out of it. So, I got motivated. I have now been doing this with him for the last eight years.”
The Life as Beekeeper
Who belongs to your family / who is living with you?
My name is Bernard. I come from here, onivu village, Okavu parish Odupi sub-county. I’m married. I have two children. So, we are four in my small family. My father is still alive, so we are still part of the big family.
How has beekeeping changed your life?
Indeed, bee keeping has changed my life. It has benefits. I am saying this because in my house, I don’t struggle so much to get soap, my wife can easily get soap, salt and other things like lotion etc. Because of this, me and my wife are in good terms. There is peace in the house.
How do you provide a good environment for your bees?
The way we provide good environment for the bees is, like here, we try to keep the apiary clean.
We have preserved these trees around, you can see there are a lot of shea-nut trees here. These are good for the bees. Here there are still plenty of trees. We don’t allow people to cut them. This is where the bees get their food. We don’t really give them special food. But sometimes they come around home to pick things like cassava flour from the home when we are drying them, and also water. That is how we provide good environment for them.
What do trees mean to you and how can they be protected?
Trees are generally good, even for us human beings. In school we were taught that they bring rain. Now, they are important for the bees, because they get food from the flowers etc., and then we get honey. The way we protect them is just to make sure the trees are not cut down. These days’ people cut a lot of trees to make charcoal, and even firewood. But here we don’t allow it. So, that is how we protect them. You can see, even the mango trees are there.
What is the most important thing in your life?
The most important thing in my life now is to work hard. I don’t look at many options. I now see that bee keeping is becoming profitable, so I would like to take it serious because I know it can help me pay school fees for children. I even wanted to initiate my children into this venture, so that when they grow up, they can carry on with it, because it can provide another means of earning income.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
The lack of money is a the biggest challenge. We don’t have enough money. You have to work hard to get money. Here, we mostly get money from selling farm produce, like cassava etc. This affects some small works like renovating our hives. We needed some iron sheets to do that kind of work. This is also a challenge to us. But now, some of our problems are solved when we get money from selling honey. I think this is going to help me address some of my challenge because the price of a kilo of honey is now good.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I am a peasant farmer. I do a lot of garden work. After work, I just come home and rest, like this time, you found me resting. Basically, as a peasant, you don’t have a lot of free time. There are always other minor things to do. At the end, you have no free time.
Which place would you like to see once?
This work of mine, I’m now used to it, I don’t think I want to go elsewhere. I am going die here.