As the country struggles to increase coffee production from four million to 20 million bags of coffee annually by 2020, a researcher from the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NARO) has advised farmers to engage in bee keeping, to increase production.
Bees are important in the pollination process.
Dr Patrice Kasangaki the head of the apiculture research at NARO says that bee keeping in a coffee plantation not only does it sweeten coffee for consumption but helps to increase production.
The Operation Wealth Creation is one of the government interventions that were put in place to increase coffee production. Coffee seedlings have been distributed is part of the OWC.
According to Kasangaki these seedling need to be accompanied with bee hives to enable pollution for Uganda to achieve its set target of 20 million bags by 2020.
“Pollination is a critical link in securing better yields in coffee. Pollination refers to the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower, the anther, to the stigma, which is the female part of the flower
and coffee also needs this,” Kasangaki said.
He added that despite coffee being the highest contributor to the economics of the agricultural sector in Uganda, the crop greatly depends on bees for fruit set, and it is not clear if small-scale farmers are aware of the importance of keeping bees for pollination services conservation to increase coffee yield.
“Of late Uganda has been importing honey from China and other neighbouring countries because we have less bee farmers,” he said.
By the end of 2016 over 122 million coffee seedlings were given out to farmers in different parts of the country but production is growing at a sluggish pace.