Bees require protection for sustainable horticultural crops production in Kenya

  • Muo J. Kasina


Background: Horticulture is the fastest growing agriculture subsector in Kenya, with the majority of production consumed locally and only less than 10% is exported. Intensive farming is currently practiced. Majority of Kenyan farmers have small land size, less than 1 ha where they grow not only horticultural crops but other food crops and livestock keeping. This paper highlights aspects of bees that relate to horticultural production and suggests reasons why bee protection is essential in Kenya.

Results: Kenya is rich in diversity of horticultural crops. Only few of these are traded in domestic and export market. The rest are consumed locally and have not been promoted for commercial gains. Wide range of fruits and vegetables require xenogamous pollination to enhance yields. Farmers have reported reduced honey bee visits on their crops though they are less aware of pollination needs of their crops. Also, pollination management is not included in their crop management practices.

Conclusion: Bees are an essential component of horticultural production but their survival has been threatened by farm practices in Kenya amongst other factors. Policy support is suggested to minimize the bee decline trend and to increase their use for pollination provision.

Keywords: farm practices, honey bees, non-Apis bees, pollination, stingless bees