(ERGO) – Displaced former livestock herders in Galgadud, whose livelihoods were destroyed by the 2017 drought, are trying their hand at keeping a very different kind of creature – bees.
Omar Dahir Osman, 24, had been living in Lebile village 20km south of Guriel town until last year, when he lost his lifeline herd of 200 goats, forcing him to move to the town. He struggled for months to survive, and finally landed a job at a large scale bee farm.
Now he is earning $300 that covers family food and other needs. He also supports his parents and four other relatives.
“I secured a job in March. Prior to this work I was an internally displaced person with no home or food to eat. Since I started this job, I have got married and also moved my parents to the town where I rent a house for them,” Omar told Radio Ergo.
Abdiaziz Dahir Mohamud, an agriculture graduate of Mogadishu University, is one of the pioneers of bee farming in Galgadud region.
With an investment of $15,000, Mohamud established Aran Bee Farms, which not only supplies honey for sale but is also creating jobs.
According to Mohamud, bee farming is less capital intensive than other forms of farming. Only a small piece of land and relatively little money are needed to start off.
Mohamud owns 420 beehives in seven apiaries, managed by 35 workers each earning $250 per month.
“I bought beehives and bees from small-scale bee-keeping farmers in Hiran region. I paid $50 for each beehive. In the future, I plan to increase the farms into hundreds,” Mohamud said.
With seven to eight harvest in a year, Mohamud’s farm yields 2,100 kilograms of honey annually.
“The productivity from bee farming is good, the whole year round. The harvest may fail only in two or three months,” he explained.
Besides honey, the farm generates by-products in the form of propolis royal jelly and wax, which can be used for home or industrial use.
Abdi Dahir Osman, who also started beekeeping in Guriel town with the help of partners, invested $10,000 to acquire seven apiaries.
“I started beekeeping nine months ago after seeing the economic and job opportunities. In fact, it is easy work and more profitable when compared to rearing livestock,” he said.
Abdi employs 28 workers, who were all livestock keepers left destitute by the drought. He pays each $200 a month. From his seven apiaries, Abdi harvests 1,750 litres of honey every three months.
“The workers now do different assignments. I employ a worker who has the potential to do the job, then train them on how to handle and manage the bees and ways to harvest,” he said.
The new farms are also providing a fair deal for honey sellers.
Daud Abdullahi, who lives in Dhusamareeb town, had been importing honey from Ethiopia for$15 per litre before the bee farms were started in the region. He now buys honey locally at $7 per litre, and no longer faces the costly trip to Ethiopia.