“I started bee keeping way back in 2007, so it is now about 15 years since I started. The programme was brought by Government. They wanted people who want bee keeping as an enterprise…”.
The Life as Beekeeper
Who belongs to your family / who is living with you?
My name is Ariku Jackson. I am married with 5 boys and 3 girls. So we are about 10 in the home.
What motivated you to start bee keeping?
I started bee keeping way back in 2007, so it is now about 15 years since I started. The programme was brought by Government. They wanted people who want bee keeping as an enterprise. So, some of us chose bee keeping. And since then, I have benefitted a lot from the project.
How has beekeeping changed your life?
This enterprise has changed my life in very many ways. Right from paying school fees for the
children – in fact one of my sons, the one who just came to greet you has just finished electrical training. This project has supported his education greatly. Some of the projects like that house I am constructing; this bee keeping project has contributed to it. Even supporting the home with some basic necessities like soap, salt, sugar etc. So, this kind of benefit has motivated me to continue with bee keeping. Even improving the health of children – because you don’t sell everything. We were taught to always keep some honey at home for home consumption. We were taught that if a child is suffering from kwashako and they eat honey, their health will improve. And that is very true because I have seen it. So, this project has been very beneficial to me. It is a very good enterprise.
How do you provide a good environment for your bees?
I have plenty of trees in this area. Different species here that bees use for their forage. There is a stream down there, so there is water source for them. These are the things bees need, so I don’t have to struggle to feed them. I have planted enough trees for them.
What do trees mean to you and how can they be protected?
I have planted a number of trees around the homestead here, many of them fruit trees and others like the eucalyptus trees are sometimes for sale. So, trees are very important. And protecting them is sometimes hard. But since this is not very far from home, it is fairly easy. I visit the apiary regularly, so your presence sometimes helps. Women used to disturb. They sneak to collect firewood within the apiary. But when they get an attack from bees, that is when they learn, so they now keep a distance. That is how we protect the trees. Another security for such a project is the community themselves. If you share proceeds from the project with community members, they
become your security. So, that is very important.
What is the most important thing in your life?
I am a community leader in this village as the Local Council 1 Chairperson. I am also a leader from the church side, so that means you receive visitors or you talk to people about many issues that help the community. For that matter, I consider important, that which can benefit the community in general. It could be education, or religious matters, or cultural issues. To us community leaders, that is very important.
What are your biggest challenges and how do you plan to overcome them?
There have been challenges along the way. For instance, one time the bees attacked my domestic animals- goats and cows. If I did not understand the importance and benefits, I would have discontinued the project. Other challenges include lack of capital, and of course we are still talking of poverty which is everywhere. So, you work around to find a solution here and another solution there, because you may not find a complete solution. So, we are always trying to find a solution. That is now part of our life
What do you like to do in your free time?
Hmmm……..during free time, I usually pass through the apiary or quietly you do cleaning. That is how we get used to staying with the bees. But also, since I am a community leader, sometimes you are moving around solving community issues. So really, there is little time for rest
Which place would you like to see once?
If there was a place for me to visit, I would be happy to travel to Europe, or America. Especially, as
a farmer, I would be happy to go and learn new practices that you can come to implement at home.