TopBar Tuesday: Ghana

November 22, 2022

Hekenofom (“Hope”) Beekeepers

Our Top-Bar Story this week features the Hekenofom (Hope) Beekeepers in Ghana.

Only the drivers of the least roadworthy taxis from Asesewa town will attempt the half hour journey down the “rough road” to the Hekenofom project, and we are grateful for that. In the rainy season the rutted and pot-holed track is sometimes impassable even for the weekly market trucks, making the trip both a feat of endurance and a risk to health on foot in pursuit of essential cash income. In this part of Upper Manya Krobo district in Eastern region, Ghana the villagers are highly resilient and resourceful out of necessity.

Asesewa market is well-known in Ghana as the subject of a former Basic school textbook. Vibrant, bustling, with the simplest of infrastructure, and crucial to the economy of the area with traders from several towns in the region. Yet there is no honey on sale, no added value products made from high quality Ghanaian ingredients – coconut oil, shea and cocoa butters, baobab oil, honey and beeswax. It is our aim to enable that change.

The community is blessed with significant areas of secondary forest, including acacias, which bees forage on avidly. As stewards of the landscape, the Hekenofom beekeeping group and their traditional Chiefs aim to balance nature with better productivity of local food crops due to increased pollination of cassava, maize, beans, pepper, okra, orange, mango, banana and plantain by honey bees. Alongside improved nutrition, uninterrupted education, affordable healthcare and other benefits can become realities with “honey money”.

With 25 new beekeepers now trained and top bar hives hung and colonised, and women waiting for training on making value-added beeswax products, so begins a story of hope for these Hekenofom beekeepers!

And so, we invite you to “bee part of their story! Join in for the Big Give Christmas Challenge from 29 November to 6 December by giving online, and see your donation doubled!

Value-added Beeswax Product of the Week: Kitenge Beeswraps

Beeswax wraps are a fantastic re-useable, eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap! These Kitenge Beeswraps are made by the women in the Upendo wa Mama Group (“Mother’s Love”) in Tanzania. and use local kitenge cotton cloth coated with a mixture of beeswax, resin and coconut oil. Naturally anti-bacterial and waterproof, they keep food fresher for longer. They sell extremely well locally and abroad and have been used by the crew of the FlipFlopi, the world’s first world’s first recycled plastic sailing dhow which voyages on a mission to end single-use plastic across East Africa. Mama Rose explains in Swahili how to make them here!

“We cut the fabric like this (in squares). We have a tray like this. We lay it down nicely. We brush with melted pine resin, beeswax and coconut oil. We use scales to measure these accurately.”

The BeesWraps are then placed in the oven for a minute and then hung on a line to dry.

Follow along and join in with your own beeswax stories in the comments on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

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