Come spend an afternoon with Sylvestre learning about traditional beekeeping in Rwanda. Sylvestre is a self taught beekeeper with over 75 traditional log beehives, made from the trunk of a banana plant. Depending on the season you may learn how to manage hives or harvest honey or spend the day making traditional beehives out of banana stems, wood, and mud.
Harvesting involves a simple honey press. Sylvestre makes a partially fermented banana juice that he uses to bait hives when trying to attract new colonies. You could work with Sylvestre and his wife making banana juice to feed the colonies or even taking honey to market.
"Bees are important because they allow you to develop your family."
Sylvestre is a friendly 73 year old beekeeper living just outside of Muramba, Rwanda, where he was born. He has been working with bees for 23 years. Sylvestre and his wife Josephine have 5 kids and 20 grandchildren. In addition to beekeeping, he farms and produces plantains, casava, sweet potatoes, and beans for sale in the local market and for household consumption.
Sylvestre is a member of a beekeeping association in Muramba. He produces about 300 kilos of honey per year, in two seasons. Honey harvests are primarily in March and August. He sells honey locally in Muramba for 200 RWF / kilo and to a Kigali based distributor for 3000 RWF / kilo. Sylvestre has a number of apiaries around the community and works managing hives a few days per week. One apiary is right outside the back door. Beekeeping is his family's primary income source.