Bees contribute to a healthy ecosystem
Bees are an essential part of maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Through pollinating plants, bees assist in the production of one out of three bites of food. However, climate change is threatening the population of bees globally- which, in turn, threatens food security.
Someone familiar with these challenges is Simon Mulwa, founder of Api-Bio and Cultural Enterprise. While he was working in beekeeping (apiculture), he was facing several obstacles in maintaining a sustainable practice. Mulwa found that he could not balance the conservation of the environment with the problems that climate change was bringing.
How climate change threatens bees
One issue has been that, with the increase in average monthly temperatures, flowers are starting tobloom earlier in the spring. This leads to a discrepancy in timing between when flowers produce pollen and when bees are ready to pollinate. As a result, pollination is occurring less and less.
Furthermore, droughts are affectingthe production of honey in Kenya. In some areas of the country, bees have been unable to feed off on dehydrated plants and have subsequently been migrating to other places where they can find nectar. This has been threatening the livelihoods of honey producers and sellers.
Rising temperatures also affect bees’ susceptibility to diseases. Specifically, bees are vulnerable to certain parasites which can kill them and, as a result, disrupt entire colonies. Studies have shown that lower temperatures are linked with a lower presence of these parasites.
Creating Api-Bio and Cultural Enterprise to protect bees
Seeing all of these challenges and the importance of maintaining bees, Mulwa decided that it was necessary to cultivate highly productive bee colonies- in particular, colonies that are resistant to diseases and can adapt to climate change. Consequently, he formed Api-Bio and Cultural Enterprise- a company that partakes in the rearing of super bees and using the byproduct to produce api skin care. These products have preventive and curative ingredients with restorative capabilities.
In addition to selling quality, natural skin care, the company is helping both the environment and the community. Breeding super bees that are drought- and disease-resistant makes them more adaptable to climate change. This increases both food quality and quantity, which can help mitigate food insecurity, malnutrition, and income losses due to decreased harvests. The cross-pollination of bees also promotes environmental conservation.
The startup was admitted into KCIC in August 2018. A team of analysts from KCIC recently visited his enterprise to understand the challenges he is facing and identify how they can assist in the development of the business. “ I am hopeful that KCIC will help in upgrading to standard structures and equipment that will improve product and service quality,” noted Mulwa.
In the long-term, he envisions expanding the enterprise into a research and training institute. In doing so, Mulwa would like to see Kenya improve it’s food security, eradicate poverty through creating employment, and enhance and protect the environment from further degradation.
By Alise Brillault