Job creation, food security and crop protection

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Job creation

Beekeeping has a very strong knock on effect when it comes to job creation. It is estimated that 3.8 people directly benefit from 10 hives being manufactured and effectively maintained. This happens in the production of hives, the working of the hives and in the processing of bee related products, and this is increased to an estimated 5.2 people when beneficiation of products from a hive are taken into account.

In Africa beekeeping crosses gender, age and family structure. Virtually all members of a beekeeper’s family are involved in some way with the work needed to maintain an apiary and harvest honey. This helps the very strong sense of inclusion and ownership beekeepers and their families have towards their hives.

Increased food security due to greater crop yield through pollination.

The pollinating effect of honey bees on agricultural crops is well known and indispensable. The increased fertilisation as bees gather and distribute pollen from flower to flower allows for greater crop yields, and larger easier to sell crops. At the same time 10 hives in a village of a small area means that it is not only the beekeeper’s crops which benefit, but other people’s as well. The fact that quite a few crops produce nectar or pollen for the bees to use, means that bees increase their potential earnings from that crop for the beekeeper as the crop can be harvested as normal, and any honey produced from the crop harvested to be a secondary revenue earner for the farmer.

Crop Protection

Hives placed in a line and slightly apart have shown to have great effect in deterring raiding wild animals such as elephants, which even the strongest fences, cannot keep out of a maize field.

Interesting work in creating ‘bee fences’ has had positive results in Kenya and Tanzania. (for more information please refer here…)

Bee hives do not need to be placed close to fields for bees to do their work as they are efficient fliers. Therefore, n apiary (beehive gathered together in one place) does not have to be close to human habitation, and in fact it can be beneficial to not have them too close.