ARUA.The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation through support from Oxfam has equipped West Nile beekeepers with post harvesting materials to improve honey quality.
The materials received include reflectometer, Sieving containers, weighing scale; record keeping¸ settling tanks will help to improve their product.
The program Manager TUNADO, Phiona Birungi observed that West Nile produces a lot of honey but with a low-quality product due to poor post-harvest management. Two groups in Arua and Nebbi will benefit from the project.
“When you look at the market generally, Arua produces a lot of honey but also the price is lowest, we also looked at the field experience, most of the people sale in homemade parks while others send semi processed honey to Kampala, its processed further and parked, so it’s the people in Kampala who were earning more”, Birungi said.
She said equipping farmers with post harvesting materials will improve the quality of honey and increase their market value.
The beekeepers and traders have also been handed data recording books to track the trade information. Lack of records has previously been a major hindrance to farmers to acquire agricultural loans.
The chairperson Arua market women honey traders’ Association Ms Alice Onzia acknowledged the sale of low-quality honey due to the use of local materials.
“I have been having a lot of challenges in handling honey because most of our farmers deliver the honey to us in raw form, this is going to help us to properly sieve our honey up to export quality so that we can earn more and improve the standard of our living”, Bacia said.
She encouraged residents with pieces of land to consider beekeeping since it is not tedious yet bears good fruits.
Meanwhile, vice president of Uganda National Farmers’ Federation Mr Jackson Jurua appealed to farmers to improve the quality of honey produced in order to attract more customers and market.
“Let our honey be improved, let us make sure that what leaves and crosses Pakwach bridge sales us, because if we sell good quality products then people are going call us for more business”, he said.
He also encouraged bee farmers to consider growing of coffee so as to produce good quality product adding that the region is set to benefit from 3 million coffee seedlings curtsey of government.
Arua district production officer Dr Gordon Toa equally encouraged the integration of tree planting in order to increase the production of honey.
Majority of beekeepers in the region have been engaged in honey business on subsistence scale unaware about techniques of post-harvest and marketing.