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The specialist international beekeeping organisation

Putting Ugandan beeswax on the world stage

As Honey Week 2019 began in Uganda, we ran a workshop together with our partner The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation to explore the best ways of processing beeswax.

Beeswax is not marketed to its full potential in Uganda, but it could fetch a high price for beekeepers and processors on the international market if the processing of the product were improved to retain its excellent qualities.

We invited several honey processors to a session to show how beeswax can be processed to keep its value; beeswax which comes out of the hive is residue free, but can easily be contaminated during the processing of the wax. For example, some beekeepers use mosquito nets as filters in the rendering process, but many nets are impregnated with an insecticide chemical that transfers to the product. This makes it much less valuable to food and cosmetics companies which require residue-free beeswax. 

Nets have been widely provided as a free malaria control measure in recent years. It is easy to see why this free resource is re-used for other purposes, but in the case of beeswax filtering, the loss in value in the beeswax outweighs the savings in using the nets. This, and several other issues with beeswax processing, such as overheating and accidental burning of the wax and the intorduction of other contminants, is entirely avoidable. The challenge for Tunado and Bees for Development is to raise awareness of how to achieve good quality results, to ultimately benefit the country's beekeepers.  

Participants in the session were asked to enter their processed waxes in competition, judged on the quality of beeswax coming from their processing methods; the results will inform how processing is done here in future. By doing this, we hope to see the market for beeswax develop to provide income opportunities for beekeepers in the country in future.

Posted: 28th August 2019

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