Bees for Development
|Africa, Asia and The Caribbean|
Bees for Development is an international charity specialising in work to alleviate poverty through beekeeping. Beekeeping contributes to supporting sustainable livelihoods in poor and remote communities and honey bees provide an essential ecosystem service. Bees for Development currently runs projects in Uganda, Zanzibar, Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan. Its offices are in Monmouth, South Wales.
History and philosophy
Founded in 1993, Bees for Development works in partnership with beekeepers and international organisations, such as Apimondia, Keystone Foundation, and the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). The charity aims to support beekeeping in order to help poor and remote communities and to protect biodiversity. It focuses on the use of appropriate technology and values, and respects local skills. It believes that self-reliance and empowerment of the poor can be enhanced through access to knowledge and information, and through trade in bee products. It also advocates less intervention with bee production, and the value of using hives that are free of internal frames.
The charity publishes the Bees for Development Journal which focuses on appropriate beekeeping technologies, sharing lessons learnt in different countries, and includes up to date information about beekeeping worldwide.
The Uganda Honey Trade Project works with local beekeepers associations, including ApiTrade Africa, helping raise incomes through strengthening honey trade. In Zanzibar Bees for Development is implementing a partnership project with a Danish NGO, DANTAN, focusing on boosting the honey industry on Unguja, the main island of Zanzibar, and on the island of Pemba. In Kyrgyzstan, funding from the Darwin Initiative, who encourage biodiversity in poor countries, has been secured. Bees for Development also disseminates training resources worldwide, manages an on-line library of beekeeping information and organises beekeeping safaris
The charity is also assisting an area resident with her attempts to preserve a Monmouthshire farm. The resident had established a hive at her farm three years ago after taking a beekeeping course. In the summer of 2011, the colony was thriving. However, the following mild winter led to increased bee activity and ultimately the death of the colony, as determined by Nicola Bradbear of Bees for Development. The charity recommends a somewhat hands-off approach to beekeeping, suggesting top-bar hives that approximate a wild bee nest, in lieu of more traditional frame hives. The organisation is assisting the farmer with establishing an apiary that has both types of hives. Visitors to the farm will learn about two different approaches to beekeeping. In addition, plants beneficial to both hive and wild bees, including borage and phacelia, are being planted.
2006–2009 Research in bees, biodiversity, and forest livelihoods in India
The research project of bees, biodiversity and forest livelihoods in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve began on 1 June 2006. This-three year project was funded under the UK Government-funded Darwin Initiative to study the interdependencies between bees, biodiversity, and forest livelihoods in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve of the Western Ghats, India. The project was implemented locally by the Keystone Foundation, working in partnership with local indigenous communities and Forest Department staff, and three UK-based partners: Professor Janet Seeley, The School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia; Dr. Nicola Bradbear, Bees for Development; and Professor Simon Potts, The Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, University of Reading.
2006–2008 Strengthening trade in honey and other bee products in Uganda
The aim of this pilot project (2006–2008) was to increase trade in honey, bringing more income to poor, rural beekeepers. The Project was funded by the UK-based donor, Comic Relief, and implemented by the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation (TUNADO), and Bees for Development. Beekeeping is practised widely in Uganda. The local market for table honey is significant, and demand in urban areas outstrips supply. Trade opportunities for other bee products are also growing. However, inefficiencies in the supply chain and the low capacity of producers to understand and negotiate markets, means that this activity is not achieving its full potential in bringing income benefits to the poor.
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