Sweet Taste of Success
If you could name one economic development project that directly benefits the environment, what would it be? Or should we say, 'bee?'
Honeybees have the power to help secure a food supply, keep a local environment cleaner, bolster biodiversity, and generate income through honey production. And numerous initiatives in Africa are spreading the word about the advantages of honeybees and are training small farmers to add honey production to their agricultural activities.
Kikandwa Rural Communities Development Organization in Uganda distributes hives, trains farmers in beekeeping, and educates locals about the importance of bushes and trees to the health of bee populations. Fewer farmers now chop down bushes to sell as polluting charcoal because they are making more money selling honey.
Honey Care Africa has targeted charcoal-burning too, and helped over 2,000 small-scale Kenyan farmers supplement their business with bee keeping. With a minimal investment of finances and labor, they can bring their family income above the poverty level and save their property’s trees and shrubs.
And the Bee Conservation Project in Nigeria, run by Ashoka fellow Tunde Fabunmi, helps retrain veteran beekeepers in environmentally friendly honey harvesting practices that do not follow the Nigerian tradition of burning the beehives.
The buzz is that it’s working.
What do you think?
Though currently demand for honey outpaces supply in Africa, too much success of such programs could result in an over supply and the economic incentive would then collapse. Are there other agricultural products that offer such a high yield for so little investment and labor?
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