Amathila Keeps Her Bee Promise

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By Francis Tsawayo WINDHOEK The Deputy Prime Minister, Dr Libertina Amathila, honoured the promise made to selected San communities that received training courses in beekeeping and honey production last year, when she handed over five sets of beekeeping equipment. The Deputy Prime Minister, who also serves as the Chairperson of the San Development Programme, handed over the beekeeping equipment to San representatives from Omaheke, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Kavango and the Otjozondjupa regions. The groups received sets of equipment comprising of wooden beehives, protective clothing, rubber boots and veils, amongst other things. Prior to the hand-over, group representatives sat for a refresher tutorial on the proper use and maintenance of equipment, conducted by Imkerei Bentheim and facilitated by the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry. Speaking at the handover ceremony, Amathila reminded how the initiative took off last year when government identified beekeeping and honey production as one of the projects viable to the alleviation of poverty among the San community. Selected San community members from the aforementioned regions plus Caprivi attended a training course held at the Neudam College with the assistance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water, Forestry, the National Planning Commission, the Embassy of Kenya and the Iceland Embassy, in December 2005. It was at the closure of the training that experts from Kenya who facilitated the training course noted the impressive learning progress made by the San, while the only available supplies of equipment were allocated to participants from Caprivi while the other groups were promised to receive theirs at a later stage, Amathila said. Amathila also noted that the main challenge of the endeavour would be to identify markets for the products but was also optimistic that the spin-off effects of the programme would result in a well-managed and profitable industry, led by the San. Though optimistic, the Deputy Prime Minister sternly cautioned the groups that if they did not fully utilise the equipment, it would be repossessed and be given to other groups, hence she urged communities and regional authorities to render assistance. Attending the handover ceremony was the outgoing High Commissioner of Kenya Tuneta Hussen Dado, who was instrumental in the birth of the initiative. The newly- appointed German High Commissioner, the Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Water and Forestry, and the permanent secretaries for national planning and tourism also attended the ceremony.