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Earning an income from bees

Patricia Adele, Beekeper from Bohopa Beekeeper Association, Bukadea, Central Uganda. Photo: Self Help Africa

"We will be the first in our family to have gone the whole way through school."

Without land, generating an income in rural Africa can be a challenge; one which Ugandan sisters Betty and Patricia Adele had to overcome to complete their education.

Betty and Patricia joined Bohopa Beekeepers, a group of 40 villagers in Bukadea parish, Central Uganda, which keeps over 200 hives. They have received training in constructing hives, swarm management, honey harvesting and processing, and received equipment, including separators, bee suits and smokers.

Self Help Africa’s Beekeeping initiative fosters local income generation, diversifies food production, and promotes tree planting to combat environmental degradation.

Irish Aid supports Self Help Africa’s Beekeeping initiative which fosters local income generation, diversifies food production, and promotes tree planting to combat environmental degradation.

Betty (19) has 15 hives, while Patricia (20), has seven. “I started with just a single hive that my parents gave me two years ago,’ said Betty Adele. ‘When I sold my first jars of honey last year I used the money to buy more hives. I now have 15,” she said.

At the end of last year Betty harvested 50 litres of honey, and sold it for €2.80 a litre. She used the money to buy equipment, clothing and school books.

“I am now in fifth grade and will stay in school until I’ve completed sixth grade,’ Betty said. ‘Patricia finishes school this year – we will be the first in our family to have gone the whole way through school.”