The County Government of Turkana through the Departments of Livestock Production and Technical Vocational Education Training and Feed the Future Livestock Market Systems(LMS) have prioritized expanding and diversifying bee farming in Turkana as an alternative livelihood in public institutions across all the vocational training centres countywide.
Speaking during a stakeholder meeting to review the progress of bee production and management, the Director of Technical Vocational Education Training Centres Stephen Eregae said bee production and management skills incorporated for the first time in the training at Lodwar Vocational Centre is a new concept that the Institution is considering as an income generating activity for both the trainees and the institution.
“We are liaising with the University of Eldoret to consider including bee production and management in the curriculum as one of the training courses at Turkana Technical Vocational Education Training Centres. This seeks to build the County’s resilience through expanded and viable economic opportunities as such,” he said.
Eregae opined the cordial relations that the Turkana County Government has with LMS in the bee-keeping sector have helped increase enrollment at the centre and have brought more life to the once dormant carpentry section in the institution as many trainees are picking a lot of interest as compared to other sections.
In diversifying livelihood not only at Technical Institutions but across the County, LMS Program Manager, Humphrey Dianga says he facilitated apiculture training in Lokiriama, Loima Sub- County, and purchased beehives equipment for bee farmers in Turkwel. LMS offered scholarships, to 10 County Staff on apiculture at Baraka Agricultural College to build capacity in a bid to increase extension services to the many bee-keeping cooperatives coming up as a result of the initiative.
Further, the Program Manager says, in joint collaboration with Turkana County, Digital Farmers Kenya (DFK) and Blossom they have supported the training of “Skill for Life” institution’s tutors and students from Lokichar, Lokori, Lodwar, Lorugum, Kalokol and Lokichogio on the production of apiculture tools.
After the training, the students at Lodwar Vocational Training centre have produced beehives, catcher boxes, solar wax melters, bee brushes, hive tools, smokers, conical sieves and beekeeper suits an idea which Dianga says should be replicated in other Centres across the board.
In efforts to enhance apiculture development in the County, LMS together with GIZ supported the translation of the community bee-keeping training manual from English to a simplified Swahili version.
The Livestock Production Directorate has called for partners to support the County government to exploit the untapped potential in the apiculture sector.
Representatives from Livestock production, Veterinary Services, IRC, World Vision, Tupado, NAGRIP, ASDSP, Safcone and Bossom Extracts were present.