Ote Village Beekeeping
March 10, 2011
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.
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.