Ethiopian Beekeepers Receive Boost from USAID

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ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia – The release of a new training video in Ethiopia will help teach beekeepers how to use their trade more effectively with improved methods and techniques. Currently, beekeepers in Ethiopia lack the proper equipment and knowledge, and have to see physically demanding and less productive methods, such as putting empty logs in trees and then climbing them to get the honey out.

The new training video, released by the Ethiopian Sustainable Tourism Alliance, a USAID supported program implemented by Counterpart International, is designed to supplement a hands-on training approach. Brian Chang, a Senior Technician for Counterpart, said, “The Bee Management and Honey Products two-disk video was created to address the lack of audiovisual beekeeping training material in the country. We had to find a medium that would reach the maximum number of communities.”

Bees are a fundamental part of farming communities, and a healthy bee population boosts the productivity of the land, since they pollinate crops, flowers and trees in their aerial roaming. Ethiopia is the largest producer of honey in Africa, and for Ethiopian communities it is not only a sweet treat, but also an important source of food security.

Honey, along with other natural byproducts such as wax and royal jelly, remains in high demand, and the video is intended to help rural beekeepers collect more honey and receive higher incomes. The training video compliments other beekeeping projects in Ethiopia; the organization Plan USA is providing Ethiopian beekeepers with equipment including veils, smokers, frames, hives, bees wax, and honey extractors to increase production.

About 500 copies of the training video will be distributed to local partners of Counterpart and USAID, and it is also hoped that increased beekeeping will attract tourists to the Ethiopian countryside to learn the history and local tastes of honey, as well as the lives and cultures of the harvesters.

Beekeeping and honey-making is an ancient tradition in Ethiopia. King Lallibela, who ruled Ethiopia in the 12th and 13th centuries, was given his name, which means “the bees acknowledge his supremacy in Agew, due to a swarm of bees that are said to have surrounded him at his birth.

Brian Chang adds, “We hope it will be used by the people who need it the most. We hope that as they become immersed in beekeeping, they can bolster their income by using natural resources sustainably, while simultaneously improving the land and continuing to develop an industry that will one day rival other Ethiopian exports such as coffee…We are excited to see the results.”

– Chloe Isacke

Sources: Interaction Blog, Plan USA
Photo: Oxfam Blogs

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