The beekeeping industry in Kenya received a boost from the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA), Turkey's leading development aid agency. The country is among the top honey producers in Africa and maintains close ties with Turkey.
Kenya's National Beekeeping Institute on Tuesday received a shipment of equipment from Turkey to help boost the quality of honey produced in the East African country. "Today, we're very glad that we've gotten support from the Turkish government. This is really significant for us as our institute, the National Beekeeping Institute, lacked some very crucial equipment," Hillary Kimutai, the principal secretary of the State Department for Livestock, told Anadolu Agency (AA) in the capital Nairobi. Kimutai oversaw the handover of the equipment, which cost 5 million Kenya shillings (roughly $46,000), from TIKA.
He thanked Turkey for helping Kenya in its effort to achieving full food and nutrition security, one of the East African country's key agendas. "It has really been difficult to ascertain the safety of what we are producing and more specifically honey. This equipment will support this institute and support the state department for livestock." The official added that the equipment would allow the Kenyan apiculture sector to tap into East African markets, boosting sales and improving the livelihoods of small-scale beekeepers. "To the Turkish people who have donated this equipment, we want to thank them and the sacrifice they have made. I want to tell them that they have brought change to this other land. We're taking this message to the beekeepers to tell them what we can do is because of the Turkish government.
Digital refractometers, which aid in determining moisture content in honey, were among the equipment delivered by TIKA's Nairobi coordinator Eyüp Yavuz Umutlu. Other equipment includes a nitrogen generator, which allows for the testing of antibiotic contamination in honey, and tools to aid in streamlining training and meetings at the National Beekeeping Institute, including digital projectors, printers and laptops.
Jane Kariuki, a chief lab technician at the institute, told AA: "We haven't been able to use the equipment we acquired in 2016 because we didn't have a nitrogen generator. Today, we tested for tetracycline with data using the connected components. The Turkish aid will keep our farmers as busy as bees. Our market will grow thanks to the Turkish aid, we'll be able to collect samples to convince our East African community that our honey is good as we head towards the European market."
For his part, TIKA's Umutlu said that Kenyan honey was now "open to not only the Kenyan market but the East African market. "Now, they can easily analyze the honey ... (for) antibiotics, pesticides, and sugar levels with the help of this equipment. We're very happy to be here because we know that honey production is one of the crucial areas for Kenya," he added. According to the National Beekeeping Institute, the last country outside of Africa to support it was Canada, back in the 1980s.
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