Green Care’s work on beekeeping began in 1998 with a two-week training workshop sponsored by SNV. After this, we set up two demonstration apiaries and began training bee farmers in how to improve their production, and how to process honey and wax using top-bar hives. Beekeeping workshops have been a regular activity ever since and we train around 50 farmers each year.
Cameroon’s Northwest Region has a long history of beekeeping. Hives were traditionally placed far apart and high up in trees, but many farmers, especially those located in and around the remaining fragments of montane forest, have been trained in modern beekeeping techniques. This trend has now spread to less forested areas.
Our training centre has a honey-processing room and dedicated training space, and is close to the Shisong apiary. This is the focal point for beekeepers in the area and provides us with a strong foundation for our work on bees.
As well as processing, storing and selling honey from the 100 hives in our two demonstration apiaries in Shisong, we sell and hire out beekeeping equipment and provide information on how to build the modern hives.
We also promote the use of all hive by-products. For example, we filter the residue from honey and mix it with water to create a honey drink, which is sold locally. We extract the wax for further processing and use the remaining materials for animal feed and fuel. To reduce the amount of wood burned in the honey-production process, we have experimented with low-cost solar cookers made from cardboard, tinfoil, mirrors and plastic. These have captured the imagination of our members, community groups and charities, and we intend to find partners to further develop this work.