Social Justice and Beekeeping in Ghana

April 16, 2024

Atudorobesa Beekeepers, Ahafo Region, Ghana

Trisha Marlow, Partnership Manager for Ghana, sent this update on the 7th April 2024:

Yesterday I visited the women of Atudorobesa (gunpowder will end=peace) Beekeepers. They are currently patiently waiting for a final, much anticipated, batch of beehive kits as they have met the reporting and colonisation criteria needed for their supply. But – and this is a big but – for now our funds, like others for Ghana, are trapped in the chaos caused by the failure of sub-sea cabling and affecting much of West Africa.

At this time they have recently completed a harvest which they wanted to show me before it is marketed and over which they are rightly proud. I expressed my concern to Thomas their trainer after we left over the lowish price they expected to receive. Marketing skills often do not come naturally and there is of course a tendency to take the first deal offered when money is hard won – and much needed.

In many places in Ghana unregulated galamsey (smallscale gold mining) takes place. It destroys water courses and pollutes land with heavy metals and comes at a cost to health. But here the local people respected their land to provide them with food. 

In 2018 the Ghanaian government zoned large amounts of family and other farmland in this community for gold exploration, cutting off much of their independence in growing food and making them dependent on market prices – along with massive inflation there is a supply-demand premium locally. Let’s hear the account of some of the women affected.

Patricia

“In 2000 I bought one acre of land to grow plantain, cassava and cocoyam so I could support my four children myself including their schooling. I am a single parent.

In 2018 the govenment bought my land. Compensation has been proposed, I don’t know how much but nobody has had a single cedi from the EPA [Environment Protection Agency] or Newmont Gold to now.

 So I have 100 by 160 yard land to feed the family now. And sometimes I get 50 cedis [£3.30] a day as day labourer.

 I will use my honey money from this harvest to feed my children and buy some essential items. Beekeeping is so important for us now.”

Elizabeth

Elizabeth is married to the Supervisor – Kwame Appiah. The group chose the name for this wonderful man who along with the village carpenter have been really supportive of the women and their enterprise.

“I had five acres I farmed for 40 years from a child and grew cocoa and banana and yam. It was family land. When the government bought my land they did not pay, even now. We were lucky the children had completed school. Now buying food is hard as prices are higher as the market women know we do not have. 

The honey money will help to support the six grand-children as their parents have the same challenges as they also lost family land and independence to support the families.”

Atudorobesa women beekeepers see beekeeping as their financial future and are blessed through their commitment and forage with 95% colonisation. The land where the hives are is very good for bees, not gold for others to take. At the time of writing no prospecting has taken place in the five years and no cultivation or replanting is allowed at all.

Patricia says “The community leaders are fighting for us, talking with management at Newmont. We can still take plantain but that is all again”.

With the frustrating delays in supplying the third batch of beehives, caused by the failure of sub-sea cabling, the story is not complete for this project and continued support from Thomas will be in place until 2025.

Trisha Marlow

Partnership Manager for Ghana

Join us for a live event with Trisha Marlow, Ghana Partnership Manager

We are hosting a free event with Trisha Marlow on World Earth Day, April 22nd. Why not mark the day with us?

Join this event to learn more about beekeeping in Ghana as Trisha Marlow shares her fascinating experiences from her recent trips, including insights from the communities we work with. During Trisha’s recent visits she heard directly from beekeeping communities affected by climate change.

Climate change is already affecting communities around the world. In Ghana, floods have washed away apiaries in areas that have never flooded before, winds are blowing blossoms away before the trees have been pollinated and bees are changing their behaviour.

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