Stingless bees are important resources for pollination of crops, production of medicinal honey and other products. However, throughout the developing countries in Africa, meliponiculture has received less attention in beekeeping development programmes. Here, the current situation of stingless beekeeping in Uganda is assessed. First, stingless bee species utilised for their products were collected and identified. Thereafter, the economic benefits derived from stingless beekeeping in the Western Highlands agro-ecological zones of Uganda with anecdotal reports of meliponiculture were analysed. The findings reveal that stingless beekeeping is in its early stages of development in Uganda. Four stingless bee species were identified: Meliponula bocandei, Meliponula nebulata, Meliponula ferruginea and Plebeina hildebrandtii that are currently used for honey and propolis. These stingless bee species can be selected for domestication, targeting different products such as honey, propolis and pollen to make meliponiculture more profitable. Indigenous knowledge of beekeepers that can assist in locating wild stingless bee nests for domestication was documented as it is essential for the preservation of this practice. In order to transform the stingless beekeeping industry in Uganda, training needs such as hive making, colony management, product harvesting and processing will have to be addressed.
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Vol. 29 • No. 1