Beekeepers can now breathe a sigh of relief after Parliament suspended the proposed Livestock Bill 2021, that would outlaw farmers from keeping bees for commercial purposes.

“A person shall not keep bees for commercial purposes unless in an apiary registered under this Act, own or possess bees or keeping equipment for commercial purposes unless the person is registered under this Act,” read part of the Bill.

The State-sponsored bill required that persons interested in being commercial beekeepers apply for registration to the CEC member for Livestock, who shall then would duly register them is they qualify. The Bill further stipulates that the certificate of registration shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of issue.

“The county executive member for livestock shall if satisfied that the applicant meets the requirement of registration prescribed in regulations, register the applicant and issue the applicant certificate of registration in the prescribed form,” the Bill stated.

The Bill had triggered a lot of reaction from small-scale bee farmers around the Country. The beekeepers decried of heavy levies that would cripple their businesses and lock some of them out.

Justin Muturi, Speaker of the National Assembly, halted the debate on the proposed Bill in Parliament. He said, “At the request of the Leader of the Majority, Livestock Bill 2021 is suspended. I have seen a lot of comments about it especially bee keeping, that have raised a lot of concern.”

The Bill had proposed that a disregard of the provisions of the Livestock Bill 2021 would face a Ksh. 500,000 fine or a prison term not exceeding 1 year, or both.