“I saw this from father when I was a small boy. They used to hunt and harvest wild honey from trees etc. So, I started practicing with ordinary pots and a few local hives. When I harvested, there was a lot of honey and I got some good money. And I did not know that bee keeping can be a business. But later organizations and government started promoting it as an enterprise. One time GTZ supported farmers with hives. That was when I was motivated to take it up seriously because I already knew the benefits.”

The Life as Beekeeper

Who belongs to your family / who is living with you?

My name is Agarile Simon. I am married and wedded. I have 8 children, my biological plus orphans of a late brother, and my elderly mother. So, we are about 20 in the family.

How has beekeeping changed your life?

 Bee keeping has benefited me a lot. It has supported my family greatly. I actually raise school fees for my children from bee keeping. One of my children is now in the university. Others are pursuing courses. So, it has changed my life.

How do you provide a good environment for your bees?

From what we learnt, you have to identify a suitable place for your apiary, fence it off or create a fire-line.

Then where there is shortage of water, you provide them with water. You can give them pawpaw- you cut them into pieces and place there, they will feed on it. Here in the surrounding there are trees, so they have no problem with forages

What do trees mean to you and how can they be protected?

I learnt the importance of trees from my father, even before I was taught. He told us that trees can act as wind breakers, it brings good rain and that when the leaves drop down, they make the soil in the surrounding fertile. Today, they are important in our bee keeping project. Women get firewood from it, we also use it for construction etc. Trees have many uses and so they mean a lot to us.

As a leader in the area, I have already informed everybody that I do not want anybody to cut down trees in my land. And I have sensitized the locals about the importance of having trees around. We have gone ahead to stop people from burning charcoal from this area. People have heeded. If someone tries to do it deliberately, we take that kind of person to the local councils for disciplinary actions. That is how we are protecting the trees here.

What is the most important thing in your life?

The most important thing in my life is wealth creation. Without wealth, you can’t do anything. If you have wealth, you can educate your children. For instance if I were to say let me build a nice house for myself, I would have done a long time, but I wanted to educate my children using the wealth I am getting from this project. So, that is very important to me.

What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?

The biggest challenge we had here in this area was lack of water. The second challenge was lack of leadership in this project. Third was lack of knowledge and skills. But now we have piped water from the local government programme. So, the challenge of water is solved, although sometimes the system breaks down. About leadership challenge, after coming to know Honey Pride, everything is now moving on well. Now we have ready market, we can get advise anytime, we get training opportunities. I am now well equipped with bee keeping skills, so everything is good now.

What do you like to do in your free time?

During my free time I usually go to check on my bees so that I assess their performance early. That is where I now spend most of my free time. Yes, sometimes I rest at home.

Which place would you like to see once?

Well, in fact I have travelled a little bit across Uganda…so, the first place I would wish to see is like America or Russia to go and see that kind of place would be good. It would be good to see other parts of the world.

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