Ote Village Beekeeping

Ote Village Beekeeping

March 10, 2011

Introduction

Ote village is situated at the end of the only road into the Akwaya rainforest region in Beruda (Southwest Province of Cameroon). Bees Abroad has trained and equipped beekeepers, supporting them to transport and sell honey in neighbouring towns.

With a population of 1.3million people, and an average of 50% under the age of 25, this is a village with a lot of potential for new beekeepers. Bees Abroad started this project in 2010, with the local partner Food & Rural Development Foundation (FORUDEF) and in-country trainers Moses Tabe and Simon Ngwaiminbi. The Partnership Manager for this project is Jo Hiscox.

 

Project Action

The FORUDEF apiary in Ote is doing well and producing honey, despite the hives sometimes getting knocked over by falling trees in storms, causing the bees to abscond and any honey to be lost.

The chief of Ote village, who was an inspirational leader, died suddenly. He was the lead beekeeper, heading a group of five elders who had an apiary of seven hives. Shortly afterwards, two further members of the beekeeping group also died. These losses emphasise the fragility of life, and the consequences of a lack of medical supplies, with the nearest medical assistance being 52 miles away, accessible only in the dry season.

Despite this, the plan to build a honey processing plant where honey producers from all over the region could travel has been achieved. High quality forest honey is now produced and stored there. Yields of honey from the rainforest are much lower than from the savannah and semi-forest areas, perhaps because of the lower amount of flowering plants in the forest.

It may be possible to sell the honey at a premium since it is rarer – this is currently being researched. Together with FORUDEF, our local partner, Bees Abroad has facilitated a way to transport this honey to the coast and to markets all over the country, feeding the profit back to the producers.

FORUDEF is working with other partners on a nutrition programme, showing how to retain nutrients in cooking, and growing a wider range of foodstuffs. The two projects combine well together to improve the quality of life. From this one village, the Akwaya project has emerged, reaching many more rainforest communities.

Belo Village Beekeepers, Cameroon

Belo Village Beekeepers, Cameroon

April 4, 2010
Top bar hives in Belu, Cameroon

A Snapshot of the First Project with Beruda

This was the first Bees Abroad initiative in Cameroon, working with our Cameroonian partner, BERUDA, in North West Cameroon. As the BERUDA organisation continues to grow, they have built a team of Cameroonian trainers who travel widely across Cameroon, addressing all aspects of beekeeping. BERUDA is a major purchaser of honey in the north-west region, and is recognised as a quality supplier by both commercial outlets and the government.

This project is based in the village of Belo, in North West Cameroon. The area is known for its cool climate and scenic hilly countryside. The BERUDA project was founded by Simon Ngwainmbi, a local man, with a vision for a brighter future for his community. BERUDA runs wide-ranging multi-faceted programmes targeting poverty alleviation among farming communities in the region. The organisation has been running for many years and their beekeeping programme is well established, with over 500 beekeepers in the area.

Bees Abroad became involved when a lack of cash flow prevented BERUDA from buying all the production from their own locally trained beekeepers – a major disincentive to those who anticipate being paid right away for their honey. Bees Abroad lent BERUDA funds to purchase more of the local production to enable local beekeepers to gain distant market access.

Links have been forged between BERUDA, Bees Abroad and FORUDEF, the local NGO involved in the Akwaya region of Cameroon. BERUDA is now supporting Bees Abroad and FORUDEF through skills training and networking. The aim is to build on the partnership so that Cameroonian trainers from BERUDA are employed to visit and train in other regions throughout the year – topped up by occasional visits from UK Bees Abroad volunteers.

In future, with support from Bees Abroad, beekeepers can be trained, honey production can continue to grow, and the impact will be felt by thousands of local people.