The Masai people of Kenya live in areas with hostile environmental conditions and extended drought periods,sometimes. This community has a prefound knowledge in livestock; wildlife, trees and herbs are part of their environs.Their heritage is in culture and their resistance to change has led other communities to regard them as people living with nature.
So welcome to Masai land,where nature brings us the money…
The Masai community are the main ethnic group in Kajiado county ,located among the semi-arid areas of Kenya.Characterised by rough terrain and an annual rainfall of 300-600mm.The main activity here has been pastoralism. Such climatic conditions, make the Acacia trees to dominate most of the vegetation; which are quite the best habitat for practicing Apicultre – bee keeping.The population and settlement here is quite scattered ,leaving lots of idle land.
So beekeeping is a subsidiary activity that has become a lifeline to this community, initially because of the importance they attach to their cattle and medicinal purposes ,but now for commercial uses…
Bee keeping is the art of managing bees to get honey,now with its by products. It requires less capital because one can start with one or two hives,less space and doesn’t require good soil so it can be practiced besides other farm activities. Because of this economic benefits ,it is emerging as a successful agricultural practice for rural areas like this parts of Kajiado, in a developing country like Kenya ..The extended drought conditions leaves most of the Maasai livestock dead. Theres barely a vegetation to feed on.And when it comes to them, the idea of contemplating life without their cattle is hard to fathom. Some will actually prefer dying from hunger than kill their own animals. This was amongst the reasons to venture into beekeeping, considering the already available resources (acacia trees),they needed to diversify.
Over the years, this community has been practicing beekeeping using the traditional methods ; the traditional log hives…which rendered this activity a male occupation,because it requires physical strength and its necessary to climb the trees to harvest honey. Therefore not suitable for women .People had less knowledge interms of the market too, so honey was produced for local use ; for food and medicine mostly.
Technology and Beekeeping
With technological advancements however, alot has changed. People are now aware of the high profits beekeeping has when practiced right….Even much for a community which men dominate the women;; women have little say,but in beekeeping they are more empowered. Most of the beekeepers are now women ,they harvest and also sell the honey…Forming organisations to empower more women.
The use of modern equipments has enabled members of this community to enlarge their bee keeping schemes,from switching to modern hives that collect more than just honey, to harvesting more conveniently, and obtaining high quality honey.
Despite the success of beekeeping though,it has not dampened the desire of the Maasai to buy more cows.Just so you know how much they really mean to them.One will consider beekeeping to get money to buy more cows..
So now the honey is not only sold in Kajiado and its environs,but into the capital Nairobi as well.They also have plans to export.
Should one consider keeping bees for business, they should know of the byproducts of honey,and know there is a market for these too.Beeswax,Royal jelly, Propolis,Pollen and Bee venom are amongst the byproducts. Whose harvesting and marketing has been enhanced with technology, making hives that put all these into consideration.What i like most in beekeeping is its cost effectiveness, like with these by products, it costs almost nothing to harvest,because they’ll be harvested with the honey.
The rural new normal?
With the pandemic disrupting many sources of income countrywide,many people are considering practicing beekeeping; because of its convinience and eligibility to start,to how economical it is,there is less expenditure and a high profit margin when the business grows.One only needs to practice this right.Kenyas potential at agriculture is estimated at over 100 000 tonnes of honey and 10,000 tonnes of beeswax per amnum.A single hive can produce upto 20kilograms( 44 pounds) of honey per harvest and sells for around 800 kenyan shillings ($8)a kilogram.Most farmers harvest 2 to 4 times a year,and with the rise in its practice over here,Kajiado county is quite a contributor.
I find beekeeping really funn,from how bees gather to make honey, to how the queen bee is protected,all that is the beauty of nature.Yes the world is growing and changing, we switching to Ecommerce and stock markets, but here we are still people of nature.Nature still brings us the money.
As a member of this community,its definitely an investment id consider,you know, use nature to bring me some money too,
if money is really in the honey…
Thanks for reading 🙏💜
#afrobloggingBetter late than never😅So this is day 2 of week 2.
Business and Tech week,i finally get to start🙏
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