Members of Bunyangabu Bee Keepers Cooperative are feeling the pinch of the ongoing moratorium on public transport in their pockets following a drop in sales in the wake of the directive.
On March 25, President Museveni suspended all public means of transport including buses, taxis, coasters and the like, in a bid to contain the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Although the presidential ban only proscribed passenger travel, leaving transportation of goods untouched, sales of honey and honey products have taken a hit nonetheless, members of the bee co-op said.
The General Manager, Bunyangabu Bee Keepers Cooperative Society Ltd, Mr. Eliezer Magezi explained that prior to the ban, they received significant orders of honey from Kampala, which they would send by bus, an option that is no longer on the table.
“Since the president banned public transport, our sales have reduced between 10 to 20 percent. This is because many of our customers who buy in large quantities are from outside Kabarole and Bunyangabu districts and we have been sending their orders by bus,” Mr. Magezi said.
He also revealed that, in the days leading up to the directive, honey sales had spiked by about 30% since the outbreak of the novel Coronavirus because many people believed that honey, which is used as a common home remedy for coughs and sore throats, would be helpful in warding off the disease.
“COVID-19 affects the throat, and people know traditionally that honey is a remedy for throat diseases; so, more people were coming to buy from us, which has been an advantage to us,” he said, although he hastened to add that they (honey sellers) did not consider Coronavirus to be a blessing.
He was just as quick to dispel any assumptions that honey is some sort of panacea that should be used to treat any condition.
“Many people think that honey can be used as a remedy for most diseases, and so they run to buy it whenever there’s an outbreak of a strange disease. But this view can be misleading,” he said.
“Although I would like to market our products, I cannot claim that honey heals the Coronavirus, or makes your body resistant it. Let’s follow the directions from our health workers, and always report to them first in case you are feeling unwell.”
Mr. Magezi further appealed to the public to follow the guidelines from the Ministry of Health and from the World Health Organisation.