Kitgum Bee-Keeping Initiative
Traditional bee keeping is an important seasonal activity in many Ugandan communities. Farmers' hives are traditionally built from bamboo, and honey is usually pressed by hand. Once the honey is extracted from the comb, it is naturally treated using heat and basic filtration, and then bottled for market. The honey is sometimes sold to be used for medicinal purposes, such as treating colds or warding off infections suffered by HIV/AIDS. The wax is used in everything from candles to textiles. Unfortunately, the local bee populations are threatened in many areas by various social and environmental factors. Inevitably, the shortage of bees leads to the shortage of honey and bee by-products, which are so valuable to these communities and to the local bee farmers. Bee keeping initiatives are designed to improve bee keeping strategies, so that there is less damage to the hives in the honey and wax extraction processes, better production, and innovative use of resources to help the communities as a whole.
Peter Lukwiya is the Chair of the ICO Council of Communities and Community Coordinator for ICO Uganda Communities. Since December, 2008 Peter has been the Director of the Uganda Peace Foundation and Kitgum Bee Keeping Initiative. In this role he coordinates all programs, provides management support, develops funding proposals, and supervises and co-ordinates the volunteers to ensure that the projects are implemented in accordance with the relevant Project Implementation Documents (PIDs). Among his many other important contributions, he introduced the concept of Microfinance to beekeepers in Kitgum, Uganda.
Peter has been working in Bentiu, Unity State for about a year working successfully on the beekeeping project for the Kitgum district, not far from border with South Sudan. His team has established a rapidly growing beekeepers cooperative society working with most beekeepers in Kitgum and Lamwo districts, to improve on apiary management, honey quality, and honey marketing.