The BeeHealth inception meeting for various stakeholders was held on the 14th January 2016 in the Buxton Boardroom in the Department of Zoology, Entomology & Fisheries Sciences, College of Natural Sciences (CoNAS), Makerere University.
The aim of the meeting was to inform stakeholders about the existence of the project and soliciting their views/expertise on how some of the project activities can best be implemented. Stakeholders included the Commissioner Entomology and the Principal Entomologist from the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries (MAAIF), two institutes of the National Agricultural Research Organisation (NaLIRRI) and Rwebitaba ZARDI), Local governments (district entomologists) of Bushenyi, Lira Masaka and Mbale, TUNADO (The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation), beekeepers, CoNAS and CAES staff and MSc students supported by the project. Stakeholder involvement is aimed at building engagement with them which should facilitate capacity building and dissemination of project outputs during the project’s lifetime.
A number of recommendations were made by the stakeholders and these included:
- MAAIF should plan and budget for annual honeybee diseases and pest surveillance. The involvement of district entomologists and other experts would facilitate the exercise.
- MAAIF in collaboration with the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences should organize induction and regular refresher trainings for district Entomologists to keep them abreast of current developments on beekeeping (among other concerns e.g. tsetse fly management) and improve the capacity of district staff to help beekeepers under their jurisdiction.
- Students doing ZOO 3105: Commercial Entomology should be placed on internship in districts to work with Entomologists for practical field experiences
- TUNADO in collaboration with the MAAIF and the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences should organize a symposium to disseminate research findings emerging from the various research studies undertaken on bees and beekeeping.
Hosted within the Department of Zoology, Entomology and Fisheries Sciences, BeeHealth is a project that aims to address the pest challenges of honeybees. The BeeHealth project is the first of its kind for Uganda with respect to the intended goals of the project which are to identify the main pests afflicting honeybee colonies in Uganda, develop solutions to these pests and improve the capacity of beekeepers to identify and manage these pests. Honeybees are at the heart of the beekeeping industry which has been identified by the government of Uganda as an enterprise that can yield incomes for households. The project ‘Enhancing production and incomes in the honey value chain by addressing the challenge of pests and parasites of honeybees in Uganda’ but codenamed ‘BeeHealth’ is funded by RUFORUM (the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture) and led by Assoc. Prof. Anne M. Akol. The co-investigator is Assoc. Prof. Don Kugonza from the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences.