Building resilience with bees in Ghana

Bees for development Ghana’s teams are busy: Covid 19 is affecting lives in many ways, making life more difficult for people who are already poor and adding to the numbers in need of support.

Beekeepers are being affected through less easy access to markets, lack of buyers and transport restrictions.

Beekeeping can build resilience in the lives of people who otherwise have little to fall back on when times are less easy. It is especially plain to see now, when the effects of Covid19 are being felt globally, that people need to have a mainstay of income that is also environmentally sustainable.

Bees for Development Ghana helps build resilient livelihoods through the enormous benefits of bees.

Cashew farming is widely practiced in Ghana, though the income it provides is often inadequate and depends on a good market.

Through Cashews, Bees and Livelihoods, six master beekeepers support growers of cashew in keeping bees in their cashew orchards. The number of growers is now 185.

Over half of these (99) reported a significant increase in yield of their crop in 2020, attributed to better pollination provided by bees.

These growers will soon be able to harvest this season’s honey and beeswax – last year they produced over four tonnes of good honey between them!

Income from honey is often used to pay for basic necessities that many of us take for granted. Mary Konadu used her honey proceeds from last year to pay her hospital bills. Francis Tano used his income to settle his children’s house rent.

Akua Serwaa, used part of her income to pay off debt, and part to pay for medical treatment for her brother. “I used it to pay the labourers I hired for my yam farm” says Yaw Tawiah (December 2020).

 Honey hunters in training, making a log hive.

We have also brought the benefits of beekeeping to people in a large rural region around Digya, a forested national park in Eastern region of Ghana.

The limited income opportunities here result in pressure on the natural environment, but beekeeping offers an alternative.

Read also Backyard broiler business: Start small, dream big

Honey hunters have been engaged in learning to make hives and keep bees, so that they rely less on honey hunting which can be destructive to colonies.

Many people have returned to this area in 2020, unable to work in cities such as Accra, Kumasi, and Sunyani due to the impact of Covid 19.

Sixteen people who have been displaced in this way began training with BfdG in Apesika. BfdG expect to see more.

Gideon, Bees for Development Ghana Technical officer, teaches a honey hunter’s wife Hawa Issa, to light and use a smoker.

Bees for development Ghana will be expanding their work around Digya National Park, Donkorkrom in 2021, collaborating with the Wildlife Division of the Forestry Commission. This will extend their work to benefit nine more villages near Digya National Park.

The above are new ways you can become involved to help these people and their bees. You can also help them through these difficult times by Donating to encourage more people to take up this opportunity.

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