Kenya: Livestock Bill Will Not Kill Beekeeping, Says PS Harry Kimtai


Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimtai has allayed fears that the proposed Livestock Bill 2021 will disrupt beekeeping as the uproar over the Bill gathers momentum.

Parliament has suspended the unpopular beekeeping law plan that sought to outlaw farmers from keeping bees for commercial purposes except in an apiary or home of bees registered by the government.

“The proposed Livestock Bill is at public participation level and as a Ministry, we’re very happy by the reactions from beekeepers and other stakeholders and we are taking their concerns seriously,” said the PS.

The PS said: “For the first time the beekeeping enterprise is being put on the right track. Through the proposed Bill, it will encourage the traditional beekeepers to adopt modern beekeeping methods and earn good money.”

Traditional beekeeping methods

“The government seeks to turn the old traditional beekeeping methods into a profitable enterprise and not to stifle the beekeepers’ efforts to reap from their sweat,” explained the PS.

He said one of the issues the beekeepers have raised is the registration and this should not be a big deal as the beekeepers will work closely with the counties.

“The registration is crucial as the counties want to know where the beekeepers are located or operating in which forest like the Ogiek and whether they have a licence and also whether they have an agreement with the Kenya Forest Service among other requirements,” said Mr Kimtai.

He said it was important to have such data to understand their mode of operation.

“We want to register them to put them in a proper value chain. Beekeepers should not feel that this registration is a penalty. I want to assure the beekeepers that there are no registration fees,” explained the PS.

The PS said the Sh500 penalty fees the beekeepers are worried about is not targeting them, but it is a general penalty in case they commit an offence against the proposed law.

He urged the beekeepers to give out their views during the public participation before it goes back to Parliament for debate and passing into law.

“This draft is a big blow to beekeepers in arid and semi-arid areas of Kenya who rely on the venture for their livelihoods,” said Mr Joshua Kaplamai, a beekeeper in Baringo County.