The Akwaya communities live in extremely remote villages in the rainforests, isolated by floods seven months each year. Beekeeping helps provide income, and provides nutrition, particularly for children.
Reaching the villages takes many hours. The local people are subsistence farmers who cannot always grow enough to meet their basic needs.
Until recently, honey-hunting was practised; it is difficult and dangerous, and not feasible for women. The honey was head carried for up to 30 miles to sell, and only during the dry season. Beekeepers had to store their produce for months before they could gain an income from it.
Young people have recently opted to remain at home due to learning of urban hardships. This has changed the demographic substantially – they need employment and the region needs more food and income.
Bees Abroad activities
Bees Abroad is helping both women and men to adopt safer forms of beekeeping. The project is run with the Food & Rural Development Foundation (FORUDEF) – a Cameroonian NGO.
A honey fund has allowed FORUDEF to purchase honey directly from local producers, and a honey store was built in Ote – the local centre. Beekeepers bring honey at any time, get paid at once, and the honey is stored till the dry season, when it is transported and sold in the towns.
Several experienced Cameroonian trainers from BERUDA are doing training for Bees Abroad; hive building, beekeeping, suit, veil and glove making, hive tool manufacture, honey harvesting and filtering – beekeeping from start to finish.
Bees Abroad established a co-operative, which has led to greater collaboration between beekeepers in the region.
Impacts of the project
These include better nutrition and sale of honey and hive products for each family, and through the cooperative, the whole community.
Beekeeping protects the rain forest from pesticides, and from being destroyed for crops.
It provides employment for the women and young people.
Into the future…
Bees Abroad seeks to continue supporting local trainers who carry out regular visits to the communities. The rainforest is so remote, and beset by so many difficulties, that establishing beekeeping would be impossible without their support.
Project Facts at a Glance
- Location: South West Province of Cameroon
- Population: 50% under age of 25 years
- Main occupation: subsistence farmers
- Local NGO: Food and Rural Development Foundation (FORUDEF)
- Project Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org