Beekeepers Strengthening livelihoods through beekeeping
Bees for development Ghana teaching young Ghanaians beekeeping

Strengthening livelihoods through beekeeping

The livelihood concept is widely used to elaborate understanding of the complexity of poverty and how people manage their resources.

The concept encompasses a person’s whole life; not just the obvious things — food, income, or work activities — but also less tangible things such as people’s access to various resources, their skills, and ideas, their standing within the community, or the power they have to influence decision making.

Essentially, the capacity of people to make a sustainable living, their vulnerability, as well as their resilience to negative change is shaped by the choices they are able to make based on their access to essential resources.

Strengthening livelihoods with bees and beekeeping

Bees for Development Ghana, a charity organisation, believes that apiculture is a feasible way to help people work their way out of poverty while at the same time maintaining biodiversity.

Read also: Rural women urged to go into beekeeping to alleviate poverty and improve their livelihoods

Honey bees are valued for honey and beeswax production to generate income and medicines. Keeping bees gives some of the poorest people in the world the opportunity to harvest commodities of international quality and value.

Livelihood, beekeeping, Strengthening livelihoods through beekeeping
Gideon Hopeson Zege, a beekeeper in Ghana

Issues currently facing our world include poverty, climate change, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, water shortages, pollution, and urban sprawl and these often have the greatest negative impact on the most vulnerable people in society.

While keeping bees cannot entirely cure these problems, it offers an environmentally beneficial activity that helps people to fight against them.

Read also: Celebrating Master Beekeepers’ and cashew growers’ achievements in Ghana

Apiculture and strong beekeeping associations can help to protect fragile environments, especially forest habitats so important for soil and watershed protection.

The most important economic and ecological function of honey bees — their pollination activity — is often overlooked, misunderstood, or taken for granted.

Apparently, the lack of bees is frequently an important reason for low harvest yields. In many areas of the world, bee populations (of all types) are declining due to habitat destruction, parasites, diseases, climate change, and unsustainable methods of honey hunting and keeping bees.

A well planned and executed beekeeping project can help to mitigate many of these problems and help many people out of poverty.

Read also: Women in beekeeping: Bees for Development’s experience

However, the danger inherent in beekeeping projects is to underestimate the risks and complexity of keeping bees and basing investment on unrealistic expectations or inaccurate assumptions or to fail to value essential practical skills and knowledge.

This leads to disappointment and loss of trust. Therefore, designing a project for beekeeping needs to be based on a holistic understanding of the livelihoods of the people, the environmental requirements of the bees, and the technical demands of the beekeeping activities to be implemented.

The close links of keeping bees with the spiritual life in many cultures indicate humans have had a very long relationship with honey bees.

Where people are most successful in keeping bees they often have a great depth of indigenous knowledge and sincere respect, interest, and love for the bees.

The Choice Press is an online news portal that seeks to project what the gallant small-scale farmers in Africa are doing. We basically report on everything that has to do with agriculture and agribusiness, especially in Ghana.
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