Officials have blamed climate change and indiscriminate use of agrochemicals for the sharp decline in honey production to 25,000 tonnes.
About 13,000 metric tonnes of honey are required to bridge the gap of the standard annual national consumption level of about 38, 000 metric tonnes, the officials said.
They have also blamed destruction of bee habitats as well as emerging pests and diseases for low production.
“In order to reverse this trend, new and bold initiatives are required to achieve the estimated annual production potential of 100,000 metric tonnes in the country,” Livestock Principal Secretary Harry Kimutai said when he opened the Nakuru County Apiculture Stakeholders Workshop on Monday.
Mr Kimutai observed that honey production has been on a steady decline in the last several years and urged farmers to be ardent in addressing the industry issues.
Mr Kimutai said contribution of beekeeping to the national economy was estimated at Sh12 billion ($120 million) annually adding that bees contributed to food and nutrition security through pollination of crops.
The workshop was organised for beekeepers, bee equipment manufacturers, honey processors and traders, researchers, students and staff from both the National and County governments “to encourage public-private sector partnership in the bee keeping industry”.
“The sector accounts for 65 percent of Kenya’s exports and employs 80 percent of the workforce. Kenya Vision 2030 identifies agriculture as one of the six key economic sectors that are expected to drive the economy to a projected 10 percent economic growth annually over the next two decades,” said
Nakuru county executive member for agriculture Dr Immaculate Maina said farmers are incapacitated by bee colonies which have declined globally.
She, however, promised farmers drawn from Molo, Njoro, Rongai, Bahati, Subukia, Gilgil and Naivasha sub-counties that efforts to reverse the worrying trend of bee colony decline, are on top gear considering the government has for the last two years embarked on a number of initiatives aimed at bee colony multiplication and genetic resource conservation.
“Some of the major activities being implemented in collaboration with counties and stakeholders are multiplication of bee colonies and support to farmer groups through capacity building and bee equipment,” Dr Maina said.