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Reducing poverty through beekeeping 

The development of beekeeping as an alternative income stream in the Fontem Highlands of Cameroon will be used to alleviate poverty whilst also helping to protect the environment through sustainable forest management and education.  

A biological diversity hotspot, the Highlands are at risk of irreparable damage through hunting endangered species and deforestation. This is partially fuelled by the lack of economic alternatives hunting bush meat for sale in urban centres. The project supports local communities to establish beekeeping cooperatives so that honey and by-products can be marketed both nationally and internationally.  Pilot studies and initiatives elsewhere in Cameroon have shown that apiculture can be successful at reducing poverty and providing a long term solution to environmental degradation.  

Local people will be trained in beekeeping and provided with the necessary equipment to cultivate honey sustainably through the provision of micro-credit.  For example, rather than burning forests to clear the hives of bees so that the honey can be collected, beekeepers will be given hand-held smokers so that vast swathes of forest will not be burned. Local networks will be used to educate local communities about the importance of environmental conservation and the benefits that it can bring both economically and environmentally. The project will also ensure women are engaged in economic development. As a genderless industry, beekeeping will enable women to become a central resource in the community. This will also help to raise their status in their families and communities.

Democratically elected locals will manage the cooperatives which will reinforce accountability and the concept of democracy in the communities. As micro-credit loans are repaid through honey production, funding will become available to sustain the project and to provide other valuable equipment in the community.  Established to be self-funded in 3 years, the project provides a long term development alternative.

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Created On : 12-01-2012
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