June 29, 2010

UNDERSTANDING BEE KEEPING AND HONEY BEES


Beekeeping is well established in Kenya and can be successfully carried out in about 80% of the country. It is especially suitable in the semi-arid areas where other modes of agriculture are not very possible. Beekeeping contributes to incomes as well as food security through provision of honey, beeswax and pollen as food and propolis, bees venom and royal jelly in medicine. It also contributes to seed and food production through crop pollination and conserves the natural environment. The country’s potential for apiculture development is estimated at over 100,000 metric tons of honey and 10,000 MT. of beeswax. At the moment only about one fifth of this potential is being exploited.
Roles Within the Honey Bee ColonyHoney bees enlist a caste system to accomplish the tasks that ensure survival of the colony. Each member of the community fulfills a need that serves the group. Tens of thousands of worker bees, all females, assume responsibility for feeding, cleaning, nursing, and defending the group. Male drones live only to mate with the queen, who is the only fertile female in the colony. The queen need not lift a wing, as workers tend to her every need.
The Queen: Don't get the idea the queen is lazy, though. A newly hatched queen begins her life in a duel to the death with any other queens present in the colony, and must destroy potential rivals that have not yet hatched. Once she accomplishes this, she takes her virgin mating flight. Throughout her life, she lays eggs and secretes a pheromone that keeps all other females in the colony sterile.
Drones: The drone's anatomical structure proves its limited role in the colony. Drones lack stingers, so they cannot help defend the hive. Without structures for collecting pollen or nectar, they cannot contribute to feeding the community. Upon mating, its only reason for existence, the drone dies. In the fall, worker bees prevent drones from entering the hive, effectively starving them to death.
Workers: Female worker bees accomplish every chore unrelated to reproduction. In their first days, workers tend to the queen. For the remainder of their short lives, workers keep busy - thus the expression "busy bees." They build the comb in which honey is stored and eggs are laid. Workers collect pollen and nectar, and evaporate the nectar to make honey for times when food is scarce. They tend to the queen, the young drones, and the larvae. When threatened, the workers defend the colony. New research suggests the workers also make the collective decision to move the colony, or swarm.

INDIGENOUS CHICKEN PRODUCTION: VALUE CHAIN ANALYSIS

While cattle and shoats are considered as insurance, chicken are an ‘easy’ form and source of quick income. However, markets are found at long distances from most of the producers and hence brokers capitalize on this challenge by offering non-competitive prices. Regardless, the frequency at which households sell chicken to satisfy basic home needs is relatively high. Chicken are sold throughout the year though the frequency is high at times of reduced food supply, school-opening, and during festive seasons.Local indigenous chicken.........................." (Value chain analysis)

June 22, 2010

BIOSECURITY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SMALL FLOCK POULTRY OWNERS

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People who raise poultry for personal or limited commercial purposes, so-called "backyard flocks," should be aware of the risks to their birds, and to commercial poultry, from diseases such as Avian Influenza virus. Managing these risks by preventing the introduction and spread of diseases and other hazards is referred to as "biosecurity." The following recommendations are simple, inexpensive ways of minimizing the risk, but can be very effective in preventing a serious disease outbreak. Biosecurity