The Nkhata Bay Honey Producers Co-operative (NHPC), supported by Bees Abroad, has been running intensive training courses to produce high quality honey and ensure that quality products are delivered to their customers. This work has been generously funded by the Waterloo Foundation.
Mr Soko’s Group
This was the first group to be trained under this initiative. Mr Soko started with ten trainees who were each allocated ten hives. During 2014, the hives were set up, and by 2015, 40% of the hives were colonised from swarms. Using colony splitting techniques this had risen to 60% by 2016.
Training from Mr Soko comprised:
- One whole training day
- Two visits to each of the ten trainees
- A training day at the Nkhata Bay Honey Producers Co-op for both trainees and Mr Soko
The first serious honey production was in 2016, and this provided a cash crop for the farmers, and part payment for the hives. The loan repayment was set at 1 kg of honey per hive in 2016. Total repayment is 6kg per hive.
A beekeeping group has been formed from the most able and experienced women. This includes some women who had previous beekeeping experience.
Four further trainer groups
In 2015, four other trainers trained ten additional participants. They ran two training days, and each trainer made four visits to each student. The Nkhata Bay Honey Producers Co-op built 200 hives, and each trainee was supplied with five hives in 2016.
The location of these new groups means that it is likely to take longer for their hives to be colonised, as there has not been any beekeeping activity in that area in the past, and they will have to depend on wild swarms. Once established and able to pay back the loan for their hives, they will be able to increase the numbers of hives provided by the Nkhata Bay Co-operative to ten hives per beekeeper.