A 68-year-old woman is quickly adapting to environmental conservation by shifting from wooden to clay beehives. Alice Kasika Mwiu, who lives in the semi- arid parts of Ganze sub-county in Kilifi has been a successful apiculture farmer despite the harsh climatic conditions, plans to replace her over 200 wooden beehives with clay ones.
Speaking at her farm, Ms Kasika said she is aware of the effects of forest destruction such as depletion of water sources. “I plan to replace all my 200 wooden beehives with those made from clay in the next few years to reduce felling of trees and logging that has been experienced in the neighbouring Arabuko-Sokoke forest,” she said.
Ms Kasika, who is a widow, moved to her 35-acre Vitengeni farm after the death of her husband in 2000 when she also resolved to retire from the civil service. She had been working as a support staff in the department of Lands and Adjudication.
“I have come to realize that clay beehives are more spacious and less costly depending on the sizes. I hire masons to do the clay beehives using lighter clay blocks, wire and iron sheets for the tops”, she said.
During low season, she harvests between 40 and 70 litres of honey while the high season produces between 100 and 150 liters of honey, which gives her good returns. “The honey produced gives me a much better pay. During the high season, I earn between Ksh100, 000 and Ksh150, 000 from my honey after selling it at Ksh800 per litre,” she said.
Ms Kasika revealed that there are two types of bees: the hostile and dormant. “I was taken to a seminar in Machakos where I was educated on how to prepare the beehives from clay and am looking forward to start educating other farmers in the locality so that they can adopt them and avoid the unnecessary felling of trees,” she said.
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She said age is no limitation and urged other widows women to work hard to maximise their potential.
“I am still energetic and a prominent farmer in this locality for being self-sufficient in food production,” she said. “I had over 60 cows but sold them during the two year drought which left most livestock dead.”
Ms Kasika said she had to keep only three dairy cows when the drought struck in 2016-2017 to avoid losses and that owing to improved pasture and water in the recent time, they have now doubled.
Apart from beekeeping and dairy farming, Ms Kasika also grows maize, cowpeas and orange and mango fruits in her farm and has been receiving several awards for being best and a role model farmer in the region.