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Gulu: Farmers shun beehives worth Shs 12m

At least 200 beehives worth Shs 12m have been shunned by the farmers they were intended for, with some reportedly turning them into fire wood for cooking and construction materials for chicken houses.

The beehives were distributed to farmers in Olwo, Lamoroto, Bokeber and Bura villages in early March, 2020 under the Project for the Restoration of Livelihoods in the Northern Region (PRELNOR), a government project.

The farmers however failed to pick up the hives claiming that they are too big and would cost them Shs 20,000 in transport.

Josephine Akwero, a local farmer in Bokeber village said locals shunned the beehives because they are too big and heavy to transport.

“I myself picked only one small beehive. The remaining ones were very heavy,” she said.

The bee hives were placed at her home where other farmers were expected to pick them up.

Akwero blamed Gulu district for wasting taxpayers' money by making big hives which the community cannot use.

Phillip Ongwech Agela, the L.C II Chairperson Pagik parish said some of the beehives are now rotting after being pounded by the heavy rains recently experienced in the region.

Ongwech said the district should have educated the community on how to use the new type of beehives.

“The community is used to the small bee hives and the district did not bother to sensitize farmers on how to use this new type. Some farmers decided to use them as fire wood while others decided to split the beehives and use the wood to build chicken houses,” he said.

Simon Peter Oola, the Vice Gulu District Chairperson agrees with Ongwech saying the community will be sensitized on how to use the new beehives.

“Traditionally, beehives are placed on tree trunks but these new hives are too big and heavy to be placed on a tree,” he said. 

Oola said that the farmers were expected to cut tree trunks and put them on the ground so that they can place the beehives on them.

“The intention of making the big bee hives was to increase the volumes of honey that farmers would harvest but unfortunately, they did not know how to use them,” he explained.

Oola said that the new beehives are estimated to produce at least 20 litres of honey unlike the traditional ones which produce between 5-7 litres.

He said that unlike many agricultural products whose prices fluctuate, the price of honey is relatively stable. A litre of honey currently costs Shs 20,000.

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