Joseph Chelimo is one of the people Mani Tese has involved in the “Agri-change: small businesses big opportunities. Development of agri-food chains in the Molo river basin”, co-financed by Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, whose goals include the beekepers’ production capacity reinforcement in the Baringo County.
Joseph comes from the Rabai area, situated on the road that brings to Bogoria lake, a land rich of acacia trees. Thanks to the recent rains, many trees began to blossom and to produce abundant nectar for bees and this is good news for beekeepers, who hope for a massive honey production. However, because of climate changes, rains are irregular and make it really hard to do weather forecasts.
Joseph, since he was young, dedicated himself to beekeeping, but the lack of economic resources to invest has always blocked the development of his activity. At first, as a matter of fact he had seven hives, but he had to go to a very distant refinery to handle honey. Mani Tese, thanks to the Agri-change project, has supplied Joseph seven more hives and has built a refinery near Rabai. Now Joseph can reach it quickly, drastically reducing the time he needs to bring honey to handling and selling.
Joseph’s family, at the moment, depends exclusively on agriculture in terms of food needs, but there is hope of increasing its income thanks to beekeeping, in order to guarantee the family’s survival even in case of poor harvests (sadly frequent because of climate change) and to dedicate to agrosilviculture, another Joseph’s big passion.
Agrosilviculture is an agricultural system which consists in the planting of trees associated to agricultural cultures and pastures and offers a great benefit: protecting soil from erosion and as a consequence improving agricultural production.
Joseph’s farm is located in a strongly erosion interested area, since it is situated on an hill where water settles after the rains, but Joseph demonstrated since the beginning a great determination to protect the environment.
As a matter of fact, he tried to avoid erosion by building traditional terracings, where it was possible. Alongside the farm, he has created a basin to collect water that comes down from the hill and to use it to plant trees.
The challenge is to obtain enough water for his farm, since Perkerra river, the only source of permanent water in the area, is rather distant. Furthermore, the area is often struck by drought. Joseph is thinking about buying a water pump and tubes to ease irrigation of his agricultural perimeter.
Despite the difficulties, Joseph has high hopes for the future and wishes to be able to sustain even more his family thanks to beekeeping and agrosilviculture.