The short course on apiculture,
organized by the Trilateral Partnership for Food Security was held at Egerton University from 13th to 17th of October, 2014. The course had a total of 33 participants drawn from Punjab Agricultural University and Egerton University. The facilitators during the course were Dr. Pandeep Chhuneja, Dr. Jaspal Singh both from Punjab Agricultural University and Mr. Stephen Kagio from Egerton University
The course covered a wider scope of Apiculture including but not limited to Economic importance of honey bees and the scope of beekeeping industry in Kenya, honey bee races in Kenya, external morphology and biology of honey bees, life cycle of honey bees, colony organisation and division of labour among honey bees in a colony. The participants were also taught on the considerations and tips of how to start beekeeping, nutritional requirement and feeding of honey bee colonies, artificial feeding of honey bees, honey bee diseases and their management, honey bee pests; their life cycle; nature of damage; symptoms of infestation and management, bee behaviour, management for honey production, uniting of honey bees colonies; curbing drone and managing drifting of honey bees. Division of honey bee colonies, management of queenless and laying worker colonies of apis mellifera, safety of honey bees from pesticidal poisoning were also among the topics that were covered.
A number of practicals were carried out by the participants under the due supervision of Dr. Pandeep, Dr, Singh and Mr. Kagio. This gave the participants a hands-on experience on honey harvesting, honey processing and packaging, beeswax processing and the process involved in transferring bees from the catcher box into a main hive.
The excursion to Kerio Valley Development Authority in Kabarnet was an eye opener to the participants on the essence of beekeeping.
The course turned out to be a success since the technologies that the participants learnt from their India counterparts are compatible to Kenya. As we all know any attempts made to improve the technical knowledge of the resource poor beekeepers tends to improve the country’s GDP, so will Kenya benefit as a result of this short course.