Regional News of Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Campaign To Reactivate Apiculture In Jaman South District
With reference to Ethiopia, it is worth stating emphatically that, the contribution of bee keeping towards domestic economy cannot be underestimated, hence the need to put in place proactive structures viable enough to sustain the industry in Ghana, specifically within the Jaman South District of Brong Ahafo Region. Statistics have confirmed clearly that beekeeping has contributed immensely towards the Ethiopian economy. It has been empirically realized that in many regions of Ethiopia, beekeeping is considered as one of the income-generating activities for resource-poor farmers and that it serves as a source of employment to many people.
Even though there have been series of measures and practical oriented programme through the ministry of agriculture and its affiliated bodies by past and present governments to elevate apiculture from the dumdum in Ghana, they are yet to achieve their expected results, hence the need for agriculture related nonprofit making organization to support the campaign for reactivating beekeeping in Jaman South District. It is against this backdrop that Jaman South beekeepers association has taken it upon itself to help elevate beekeeping industry in the area and beyond.
Members of this association have accepted that bee hives are said to remain the most commonly used bee equipment by beekeepers. However, there have emerged framed hives that is commonly use by beekeepers. Bee suits, gloves, bee sieves, wellington boots, knives and brushes are also seen as important equipment used in beekeeping. This attests to the fact that availability of beekeeping equipment like the above mentioned equipment is needful. It precipitates quality wax which is useful for honey comb, cosmetics, candle making, ointment and cream, varnishes and polishes, to mention but a few and that, honey is useful for the production of a variety of drugs.
Agriculturalists and other experts strongly believe that the production of quality honey does not only depend on the technical knowledge and skills beekeepers might have but also the environment within which the bees are raised. Supportively, based on a recent apiculture research conducted by the Jaman South beekeepers association, it was learnt that bees forage for nectar and pollen on flowers of plants and that to ensure quality honey, it is required that bee hives be located at places that provide access to a variety of flowering plants that yield nectar and pollen throughout the year. It was further realized that by locating hives in areas where a wide variety of plants grow, beekeepers increase the chances of colonies to be able to find adequate forage to meet their needs in spite of changing weather patterns. Again, it was established that, standards also require that all areas near an apiary where the bees are likely to forage must be free of activities that in any way could compromise serene integrity.
Low productivity and poor quality bee products are seen as the major economic impediments for rural beekeepers are seen as some of the common numerous problems militating against the beekeeping industry in Jaman South. Lack of skills to manage both bees and bee products are among the major problems. The association has detected that a sizeable number of rural beekeepers cannot afford to invest in inputs, process, pack and transport their products to market to maximize profits. They therefore produce low quality products that they are forced to sell them locally at prices much lower than even in domestic commercial markets. Intermittent bush burning is another challenge. Fires do not only burn bee hives causing the extinction of the insects but also depletes the vegetation needed to provide the few bees that survive with flower nectar and pollen required for the production of honey both in good quantity and quality. The problems surrounding beekeeping is not something new. Even in Ethiopia, despite its long history in beekeeping, the industry is underdeveloped of their agricultural sector and that the knowledge and skill of honey production and beeswax extraction of Ethiopian farmers is still reliable. However, if structures are not put in place to combat these problems it will continue to thwart the unprecedented effort of beekeepers in Jaman South District. The existing question is how the problems militating against the beekeeping industry can be solved with ease?
In order to relieve beekeepers in this area from the numerous challenges , the association upon advice from apiculture experts has observed that paying greater attention to the training of extension workers and farmers in apiculture could equip them with better beekeeping knowledge and skills to enable them improve the backward beekeeping culture and increase the production of honey and beeswax.
In furtherance to the above, beekeepers need to be organized into service cooperatives so that they can collectively have adequate volume of marketable bee products, develop marketing strength and have easy access to inputs required for the production of honey and beeswax. This thus calls for the formation of coalitions which the BUSAC Fund strongly supports and encourages associations to do for greater advocacy capacity.
It should be agreed without skeptic that, there is great potential for the production of bees in the Jaman South District. This had already been ascertained considering the people’s readiness to adopt modern beekeeping technologies, availability of feed and water/seasonal availability of bee forage and availability of strong bee colonies and market access.
(Raymond Nketia, Chairman)
Electronic and Print media
Prepared by: COPIO Media Team,Techiman. (0208356350, 0206736900, [email protected])