About Bee Keeping

Know About Bee Keeping         

In nearly all countries of the world bees and their products are not only well known and have wide consumer preference, but provide sustainable livelihoods to many small-scale farmers and other rural and non-rural people. Bees offer a large potential with minimal investments. As an agricultural enterprise beekeeping does not require land ownership or rental, it can be started with equipment and tools that can be sourced locally and in many instances skills and knowledge required for such an enterprise are found within local traditions.


PURPOSE OF THE WEBSITE

As a business enterprise it offers not only diverse products, for example honey and wax among others, which can be sold in local markets and become an important source of regular income for farm families, but can also provide complementary services, such as crop pollination. Moreover bee products improve farm family nutrition and can provide for traditional health care remedies.

Honey hunting vs. beekeeping Honey hunters can be found in many countries and are commonly involved in subsistence farming. They hunt for honey in the wild as a way to diversify their food supply as well as to sell honey. However fire and smoke that are used to rid the bees from their nests can destroy the entire colony, but can also ignite wild fires. This type of practice also affects the surrounding environment as pollination services are no longer available. This puts in jeopardy the honey hunter’s livelihood as well as making crops and other plants in the area more vulnerable. Moreover the honey and wax obtained from such a practice are of low quality. For example honey can be sold with parts of honey comb in it, ash and brood. Wax from the honey comb is not marketed and is usually either thrown away or used as burning fuel. Along side honey hunting, traditional forms of beekeeping have also developed over the centuries. In this type of beekeeping the small scale farmer provides protection for the bee colony in exchange for periodic harvests of honey and wax. This protection may be as simple as providing a hole in a wall , a clay pot or a basket attached to a tree branch so that bees can colonize it. This enables to harvest honey without destroying the colony and risking the important pollination services that bees can provide. The brood taken from wild colonies of bees is sometimes eaten by children as a protein supplement, but is not available on a constant basis, so contributes little to their diets and protein intake.   

involve using purposely made hives This not only allows for ownership of the bee colony and its products, but importantly makes it easier to harvest bee products as bees can be kept closer to the farm household and /or can be moved with greater ease, for example to provide pollination services for fruit crops. This, unlike, honey hunting provides far more reliable sources of honey products, on a regular basis and enables small-scale farmers to manage and control the bee colony, like any other agricultural enterprise. It enables more proficient and efficient management and commonly allows for higher yields and more regular supply of bee products for the market.

Beekeeping is a lucrative trade even using simple management techniques, but needs to consider local culture and economy for it to be successful. Beekeeping as an enterprise fits in very well with small scale farmers’ livelihoods. It is not invasive; bees work along the natural patterns of local agro-ecological zones and provide positive impacts to the fauna and flora found within. It is an enterprise that can provide for employment, income and economic security for the farm family and others in rural areas. It requires little start–up investments, does not require complex technologies and techniques to start with and bees usually look after themselves, with little need for tendering. Bees provide for a plethora of products (honey, wax, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, venom, etc.) and are well known in many local markets. This provides a portfolio of products that a small-scale farmer can sell from a single farm enterprise. These products can also, with minimal processing, be ‘transformed’ into value added products, for example wax can be processed into candles, and honey can be made into mead (honey beer)

                      

The website’s aim is to create awareness and promote beekeeping as a viable diversification enterprise for small-scale farmers. Its main objective is to demonstrate how beekeeping can become an important business for small-scale farmers in their agricultural endeavours and how this can support their livelihoods in rural and remote areas. The website is intended for all those working in rural development projects in public, private and donor organizations.

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