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Diversification booklet 1

Diversification booklet 1

Nicola Bradbear

Agricultural Support Systems Division
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome 2003
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© FAO 2003

Diversification booklets

FAO Diversification booklets aim to raise awareness and provide informa-
tion about opportunities at the farm and local community level to increase
small-scale farmer income. Each booklet will focus on a specific farm or non-
farm enterprise or technology that experience has shown can be integrated suc-
cessfully into small farms or at a local community level. We explore the poten-

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
tial benefits associated with new activities and technologies, as well as appro-
priateness and viability in differing circumstances.
The main target audience for FAO Diversification booklets are people and
organizations that provide advisory, business and technical support services to
resource-poor small-scale farmers and local communities in low- and middle-
income countries. We hope to provide enough information to help these sup-
port service providers consider new income-generating opportunities, and how
they might enable small-scale farmers to take action. What are farmer require-
ments and constraints? What are critical “success factors”?
FAO Diversification booklets are also targeted to policy level people in gov-
ernment and non-governmental organizations. What actions might policy-
makers take to create enabling environments for small-scale farmers to diver-
sify into new income-generating activities?
It is important to point out that the Diversification booklets are not intended
to be technical “how to do it” guidelines. In order to provide farmer advisory
and support activities relating to introduction of new income-generating activ-
ities, most organizations will find it necessary to seek more information or
technical support. For these organizations, each booklet identifies complemen-
tary sources of information and technical support.
If you find this booklet of value we would like to hear from you. Tell your

colleagues and friends about it. If you have any suggestions where we can
make changes for the better in our next edition, or topics for other booklets –
this is equally important. By sharing your views and ideas with us we can
eventually provide better services to you.

Director, Agricultural Support Systems Division
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Rome, Italy

Preface iii

Table of contents
■ Beekeeping helps to create sustainable livelihoods 1
■ Beekeeping assets 1
■ Natural capital assets 2
■ Human assets 3
■ Physical assets 4
■ Social assets 4
■ Financial assets 4
■ Beekeeping outcomes 5
■ Bees are diligent pollinators of fruit and seed crops 7
■ What is pollination? 7
■ Bees are good pollinators 7
■ Cross-pollination 8
■ Pollination affects crop quality and quantity 8
■ Protecting pollinators 9
■ More pollinating insects needed 9
■ Bees around the world 11
■ Africa 11
■ Asia 12
■ The Americas 12
■ Honey popular food 13
■ What is honey? 13
■ Honey quality 13
■ Harvesting honey 14
■ Water content 15
■ Values of honey 17
■ As a food 17
■ As a medicine or tonic 17
■ As a cash crop 17
■ As an export crop 17
■ As cultural food 19
■ Beeswax useful and valuable product 21
■ Beeswax quality 21
■ Income from beeswax 22
■ Uses of beeswax 23

■ Other products from bees 25
■ Pollen 25
■ Propolis 25
■ Royal jelly 26
■ Value-added products 29
■ Apitherapy: healing with bee products 31
■ In brief: how to keep bees 33
■ Obtaining bees 33
■ Choice of hives 33
■ Traditional hives 34
■ Top-bar hives 35
■ Movable-frame hives 37
■ Beekeeping equipment 39
■ Smoker 39
■ Protective clothing 39
■ Hive tool 39
■ Harvesting and processing 40
■ Promoting beekeeping projects as a source of livelihoods 41
■ Natural resources: indigenous species 41
■ Human resources: beekeeping skills, training and extension 41
■ Physical resources: equipment and transport 42
■ Financial resources: credit 43
■ Social resources: sector support and marketing 43
■ Project evaluation 44
■ Case studies 46
■ Some apicultural terms 53
■ Further information - websites, books, videos and CDs 57

Table of contents

Beekeeping helps
to create sustainable livelihoods

Beekeeping does not attract much at- definition of a livelihood:
tention. It is easy to visit villages and “A livelihood comprises the capa-
not “see” beekeeping, unless actively bilities, assets and activities re-
looking for it. Beekeeping, however, quired for a means of living. A
is crucially important for agricultural livelihood is sustainable when it
well-being; it represents and symbol- can cope with and recover from
izes the natural biological interde- stresses and shocks and maintain

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
pendence that comes from insects, or enhance its capabilities and as-
pollination and production of seed. sets both now and in the future,
Useful small-scale efforts to encour- while not undermining the natural
age beekeeping interventions can be resource base.”
found throughout the world, helping
people to strengthen livelihoods and ■ Beekeeping assets
ensuring maintenance of habitat and Individual livelihoods depend on ac-
biodiversity. cess to many types of assets which
Strengthening livelihoods means fall into five categories: natural, hu-
helping people to become less vulner- man, physical, social and financial.
able to poverty. This is achieved by To understand this, think about your
helping them to gain greater access to own livelihood and all the diverse as-
a range of assets, and supporting their sets you depend upon: your skills, ac-
capacity to build these assets into suc- cess to transport, equipment, telecom-
cessful livelihood activities. This munications and the social networks
booklet shows the useful role that you have been born into or have cre-
beekeeping can play in creating sus- ated yourself. No individual category
tainable livelihoods. of capital assets, such as finance, is
People who have limited cash or sufficient on its own to create a liveli-
financial savings often have other hood.
assets or strengths – as opposed to Beekeeping is a useful means of
needs – that can be mobilized. strengthening livelihoods because it
Chambers and Conway (1992) de- uses and creates a range of assets.
veloped what is now the accepted Successful beekeeping draws upon

Types of capital assets needed for beekeeping

Natural: bees, a place to keep them, water, sunshine, biodiversity and environ-
mental resources;
Human: skills, knowledge, good health and strength, and marketing expertise;
Physical: tools, equipment, transport, roads, clean water, energy and buildings;
Social: help from families, friends and networks, membership of groups and
access to a wider society, market information and research findings;
Financial: cash, savings and access to credit or grants.

all categories of capital assets, al- feasible in marginal conditions, which
though financial capital is not essen- is important for people who need to
tial for getting started in productive restore their livelihoods or create new
beekeeping. ones.
Beekeeping fits in well alongside
■ Natural capital assets many other livelihood endeavours be-
Beekeeping livelihoods are built upon cause it uses the same natural re-
natural resource stocks: bees, flower- sources as, for example, forestry, agri-
ing plants and water. Bees collect culture and conservation activities.
gums and resins from plants and use Beekeeping provides an excellent
plants and trees as habitat for nesting. bonus in addition to other crops rather
Bees are a natural resource, and freely than instead of them, because only
available in the wild. Where bees have bees are capable of harvesting nectar
not been poisoned, damaged or and pollen. There is no competition
harmed, they will collect wherever with other insects or animals for these
they are able, provided the natural resources that otherwise would be in-
conditions include available flowering accessible to people. Beekeeping en-
plants. Wild or cultivated areas, sures the continuation of natural as-
wasteland and even areas where there sets through pollination of wild and
may be land mines all have value for cultivated plants. Flowering plants
beekeeping. Beekeeping is possible in and bees are interdependent: one can-
arid areas and places where crops or not exist without the other. As bees
other enterprises have failed; the roots visit flowers, they collect food and
of nectar-bearing trees may still be their pollination activities ensure fu-
able to reach the water table far below ture generations of food plants, avail-
the surface. This makes beekeeping able for future generations of bees and

ing practices change, it is essential to
ensure that beekeeping is retained and
encouraged in order to provide con-
tinued populations of pollinating in-

■ Human assets
Many societies have considerable
traditional knowledge and skills con-
cerning bees, honey and related
products. The products of beekeep-
ing are often used by women: the im-
portant tej (honey wine) industry in

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
Ethiopia, for example, is run by

FIGURE 1 A mother and child in Nepal:
just one hive of bees makes a significant
contribution to the resources of the house-

for people too. It is a perfect self-sus-
taining activity. Pollination is difficult
to quantify, but if it could be meas-
ured it would be the most economi-
cally significant value of beekeeping.
By definition, a livelihood should
enhance capabilities “while not un-
dermining the natural resource base”
(Chambers and Conway, 1992). Bee-
keeping goes beyond this, because it
actually helps to sustain the natural FIGURE 2 Many African women add to
resource base. Throughout the world, their livelihoods by brewing and selling
honey beer. Ethiopian women make and sell
beekeeping has traditionally been part tej (honey wine) and non-alcoholic drinks
of village agriculture. Now, as farm- based on honey.

women. Elsewhere in Africa, women tions have great significance for bee-
brew and sell honey beer. These are keeping development. Local associa-
the types of human assets or skills tions provide the means for beekeep-
needed to create livelihoods within a ers to advance their craft, lobby for
society. Beekeeping projects have the protection of bees, organize col-
sometimes ignored existing knowl- lective processing for honey and wax,
edge or implied that it was wrong or and gain access to markets. Access to
out of date, which is worse. The best networks at a wider level through
beekeeping projects recognize exist- non-governmental organizations
ing skills and build on them for (NGOs) such as Apimondia and Bees
greater income generation and to en- for Development helps beekeepers to
sure sustainability. make national and international con-
tacts, find sources of training, mar-
■ Physical assets kets and new research results, and im-
Successful beekeeping enterprises re- prove their understanding of the in-
quire production equipment and in- dustry.
frastructure such as transport, water,
energy, roads, communication sys- ■ Financial assets
tems and buildings. There are many Although significant financial assets
ways to manage bees and obtain are not essential to initiate beekeep-
crops of honey, beeswax or other ing activities at subsistence level,
products. In sustainable beekeeping they are essential for development of
projects, all equipment must be made beekeeping enterprises. Successful
and mended locally which, in turn, marketing depends on adequate sup-
contributes to the livelihoods of other plies of containers for processing and
local people. Beekeeping can add to packaging. Credit is necessary for
the livelihoods of many different sec- beekeeping associations to run collec-
tors within a society including village tion centres and for traders to buy
and urban traders, carpenters who honey and beeswax.
make hives and stands, tailors who A good beekeeping project will
make veils, clothing and gloves and utilize available assets; it will not de-
those who make and sell tools and pend on imported resources or equip-
containers. ment, such as the beeswax foundation
used in frame hives (see Figure 26).
■ Social assets There are situations all over the world
Social resources such as networks where beekeeping can be especially
and producer and marketing associa- valuable because it remains an activi-

ty that is possible for people living in honey, beeswax and other products
the most difficult circumstances, per- to make secondary products such
haps isolated by war or sanctions. as candles, skin ointments and beer.
This is because bees are almost al- Secondary product brings a far bet-
ways available in the wild and equip- ter return for the producer than sell-
ment can be made from whatever ma- ing the raw commodity. This work
terials are at hand. strengthens people’s livelihoods.
• Products of beekeeping are used
■ Beekeeping outcomes for apitherapy in many societies.
Beekeeping produces a number of • Honey, beeswax and products
quite different outcomes. made from them, such as candles,
• Pollination of flowering plants, wine and food items, have cultur-
both wild and cultivated, is vital al value in many societies and

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
for continued life on earth. How- may be used in rituals for births,
ever, this essential process is diffi- marriages, funerals and religious
cult to quantify.
• People everywhere like honey, the
best-known beekeeping product.
Honey is a traditional medicine or
food in most societies. Whether
sold fresh at village level or in so-
phisticated packaging, honey gen-
erates income and can create
livelihoods for several sectors
within a society.
• Beeswax is a valuable product of
beekeeping, and much of the
world’s supply comes from devel-
oping countries.
• Beekeeping products such as
pollen, propolis and royal jelly
can be harvested and marketed,
although special techniques and
equipment are needed for some of
these products.
FIGURE 3 A beekeeper in the Amazon.
• Beekeepers and other community Honey is a useful source of income for peo-
members can create assets by using ple living in or near tropical forests.

celebrations. even though some of them cannot
• Beekeepers are generally respect- be fully quantified. Beekeeping
ed for their craft. Bees and bee- helps people to become less vulner-
keeping have a wholesome reputa- able, strengthens their ability to
tion. Images of bees are used as plan for the future and reduces the
symbols of hard work and indus- danger that they will slip into
try, often by banks and financial poverty in a time of crisis, for ex-
institutions. ample, if a family member becomes
These outcomes are real and they ill or crops fail.
strengthen people’s livelihoods,

Bees are diligent pollinators
of fruit and seed crops

■ What is pollination? flowers. Many species of insects visit
Pollination is necessary for all seed flowers to seek nectar or pollen;
and fruit production by flowering while doing so most will transfer a
plants. Transfer of pollen among few pollen grains, thus contributing
flowers to allow their reproduction is to pollination. Honeybees are highly
a vital mechanism for maintaining efficient pollinating insects, because:
life on earth. People harvest the seeds • they have hairy bodies that easily

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
of some crops for food; examples are pick up thousands of grains of
oilseed crops, nuts, legumes such as pollen as they move about inside
beans and peas, and cereals such as
rice and maize. Other crops provide
fruit that develops with the seed, for
example citrus fruits, mangoes and
tomatoes. Seed is required for the
production of the next generation of
crops and allows plant-breeding pro-
grammes to improve varieties.

■ Bees are good pollinators
Plant reproduction requires the trans-
fer of pollen from the anthers, or male
part of a flower, to the stigmas, or fe-
male part of a flower, either on the
same plant or on a separate plant that
may be some distance away. After
thousands of years of evolution and
adaptation to local environments,
each plant species has specific re-
quirements for this important transfer FIGURE 4 Everywhere in the world where
there are flowering plants – there are bees ,
of pollen; many depend on foraging and over 25 000 species have so far been
insects to transfer pollen among described.

flowers; mangoes, are self-pollinating but give
• they visit only one species during better yields if pollinated by insects.
each foraging trip; Many, such as passion fruit, cowpea,
• each foraging bee not only collects sesame, litchi, mustard and cashew,
sufficient food for its own require- give a substantially increased yield
ments, but continuously forages for when pollinated by insects. Others
nectar and pollen to supply the dai- such as sunflowers, clover, beans, al-
ly food needs of the colony. monds and melons are completely de-
During a single day, one bee may vis- pendent on pollination by insects and
it several thousand flowers of one plant otherwise will not produce crops.
species, collecting nectar and pollen and Adequate insect pollination affects
continuously transferring pollen grains both the quantity and quality of crops:
from one flower to another. uneven, small fruit often indicate insuf-
ficient pollination. Adequate pollination
■ Cross-pollination
Cross-pollination occurs when an in-
sect moves pollen from one plant to
another. It is needed when plant sexes
are segregated on different plants, such
as melons, or by different periods of
flowering of the same plant, such as
avocado. Many varieties of fruit trees
need cross-pollination; they should be
planted so that pollinizer trees are near
the main crop trees. Production of hy-
brid seed crops on a commercial scale
creates a special need for cross-polli-
nation by insects: a large population of
pollinating insects is needed to carry
pollen from rows of male plants to
rows of female plants.

■ Pollination affects crop quality and
quantity FIGURE 5 Coffee in Yemen. Yield improves
Crops vary in the extent to which they significantly when optimally pollinated by
bees; beekeepers obtain good honey crops
benefit from insect cross-pollination. from the abundant nectar produced by cof-
Some crops, such as field beans and fee flowers.

by insects also ensures that early flow- nesting and hibernation sites for
ers set seed. This results in a uniform bees.
and early harvest and gives the crop the It is in everyone's interest to main-
maximum length of time to ripen. tain strong populations of honeybees
Pollination can be as important in and other pollinating insects. This
crop production as water or fertilizer. means increasing people’s awareness
With the use of improved cultivars of the value of insect pollination,
and irrigation, pollination can be the stopping unnecessary pesticide use
limiting factor. The pollination re- and increasing forage for bees by in-
quirements of all major temperate cluding nectar-bearing bushes and
zone crops are well known. In coun- trees in planting schemes. Farmers
tries with highly mechanized agricul- can contribute to the protection of
ture, the use of bees for pollination in- honeybees and their habitats as fol-

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
creased greatly during the twentieth lows.
century and became an integral part • Select and use insecticides with
of crop production. Less research has great care; if wild pollinating in-
been done on the pollination require- sects are destroyed, there is a risk
ments of crops grown in the tropics. of decreased crop yields in the fu-
■ Protecting pollinators • Never use insecticides when flow-
Many other species of bees and polli- ers are open; foraging insects work
nating insects living in the wild are on open blossoms and are killed by
highly important for pollination, in sprays at this time; if insecticides
addition to honeybees living in the must be used, spray at a time of
wild or managed in hives by beekeep- day when crop flowers are closed.
ers. Many factors have caused a de- • Allow wild plants to flower on
cline in the numbers of these insects wasteland, because they will help
available for crop pollination. The to support populations of foraging
most serious threat to pollinating in- insects.
sects is the use of insecticides. Her- • Make habitats more acceptable for
bicides, grazing or cutting of road- nesting and hibernation of pollinat-
side verges and other destruction of ing insects.
flowering plants remove food
sources for pollinating insects. In- ■ More pollinating insects needed
tensive land cultivation and destruc- Paradoxically, intensive agricultural
tion of hedges, banks and rough practices diminish the numbers of wild
verges further reduces the habitat for pollinators and at the same time increase

the need for them. Larger fields increase and less intensive than in temperate re-
the need for pollination while a crop is gions. Where growing conditions are
flowering, yet decrease the ability of the favourable, the same crop species may
local insect population to pollinate ade- occur in a sequence of growth stages.
quately. The tendency to concentrate Many fruit trees flower and fruit
particular crops in certain areas intensi- throughout the year, albeit more abun-
fies this situation, because when the ma- dantly at certain periods, and therefore
jor crop is not in flower there may be in- forage for bees may be present at all
sufficient forage from other sources. times.
In temperate countries, large-scale Increased monoculture in the tropics
monocultures have increased the need means that flowering will be more con-
for pollination, yet have decreased the centrated, so large pollinator populations
populations of wild pollinators. A similar will be needed for shorter periods. Al-
dilemma is arising in the tropics, where though pollen sources that allow cross-
there has been an increase in mecha- pollination are naturally present in small
nized farming and an accompanying in- mixed farms, special provisions for crop
crease in field size. In the tropics, how- pollination are necessary for large areas
ever, crop flowering is more prolonged of a uniform crop (Free, 1999).

FIGURE 6 Market stall in Egypt. Adequate pollination increases the quality and quantity of
many cash crops.

Bees around the world

Many species of bees collect nectar, and their behaviour is notably different.
they convert to honey and store as a They are more readily alerted to leave
food source. Only bees that live to- the comb and defend themselves. Tropi-
gether in large colonies store apprecia- cal honeybees are more likely to aban-
ble quantities of honey; these include don their nest or hive if disturbed, be-
bees of the genera Apis (honeybees), cause they have a greater chance of sur-
Trigona and Melipona (stingless bees) vival in the tropics. In some areas, hon-
that people have recognized through- eybee colonies migrate seasonally.

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
out the ages as sources of honey. Until
the seventeenth century, honey from
bees was the only commonly available
sweetening substance.
The most widely used honeybees
are European races of Apis mellifera, a
species of honeybee also indigenous to
Africa and the Middle East. Honeybees
are not indigenous to the Americas,
Australia, New Zealand or the Pacific
islands, but during the last four cen-
turies European races of bees have been
introduced to these regions. During the
last 30 years, European bees have been
used increasingly in Asia. Beekeeping
equipment and technology have been
developed for use with European races
of honeybees. Most beekeeping litera-
ture relates only to these bees.
FIGURE 7 Colonies of wild nesting bees
■ Africa are the major source of honey in many areas
Apis mellifera are indigenous to tropical of India. These colonies will be harvested
by honey hunters who climb the trees, cut
Africa. They are slightly smaller than off the honeycombs and lower them to the
the European races of Apis mellifera ground in baskets.

These are crucial factors governing which is particularly valued for its me-
tropical bee management. dicinal properties. Knowing nothing of
these indigenous bees, European set-
■ Asia tlers long ago brought with them Euro-
There are many indigenous honeybee pean bees, on which basis the industry
species in Asia. Some can be managed developed. In 1956, some African Apis
in hives; others build individual mellifera queens were introduced into
combs in the open and cannot be kept Brazil. These bees survived far more
in hives. Honey hunters plunder these successfully in tropical Brazil than
combs for honey. In Bangladesh, In- their European Apis mellifera prede-
dia and Nepal, for example, most hon- cessors, and quickly proved dominant
ey comes from gathering the large over them; they are known as “killer
combs of wild nesting bees. bees” in the media and have spread
through much of South and Central
■ The Americas America and southern parts of the
There are no indigenous honeybees in United States. They have many of the
the Americas. Their ecological niche is typical African honeybee characteris-
filled by many different species of stin- tics that have necessitated changed
gless bees that were and in some areas management practices and led to in-
still are exploited for their honey, creased yields for beekeepers.

FIGURE 8 Hive for stingless bees in Brazil.

Honey – popular food

Mention bees, and most people think honey is now considered “ripe” and
of honey. Almost every society on will not ferment. In this way the bees
earth has traditionally known and prepare for themselves a concentrated
used honey. Cave paintings near Va- food source packed in minimal space.
lencia in Spain from 15 000 years ago It is free from problems of fermenta-
depict men gathering honey. The tion; therefore bacteria cannot grow in
Bible and the Koran extol the virtue the honey and it will not deteriorate
of honey as a valuable and nourishing during storage. This food sustains the

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
food. The reputation of honey as a bees through periods when there are
wholesome and popular commodity no flowers.
is a useful basis upon which to create Pollen is a minor but important
livelihoods. component of honey. It is carried to
the nest and stored quite separately
■ What is honey? from nectar, but a few pollen grains
Flowers need bees to visit them so that inevitably find their way into nectar
plants will be pollinated. As an incen- and eventually into the honey. If the
tive, they supply nectar. Nectar is a so- pollen in honey is identified through a
lution of sugars and other minor con- microscope, it gives a guide to the
stituents that bees collect and concen- plants on which the bees have been
trate into honey. Honeys contain a foraging.
wide range of sugars, varying accord-
ing to the nectar source, and small ■ Honey quality
amounts of other substances such as The aroma, taste and colour of honey
minerals, vitamins, proteins and are determined by the plants from
amino acids. The temperature in a nest which the bees have gathered nectar.
near the honey storage area is usually Sunflowers, for example, give a gold-
about 35 °C. This temperature and the en yellow honey; clover gives a
ventilation produced by fanning bees sweet, white honey; agave species
cause water to evaporate from the give honey a bitter taste that is popu-
honey. When the water content is re- lar in some societies. Dark honey usu-
duced to about 20 percent, the bees ally has a strong flavour and often has
seal the cell with a wax capping. The a high mineral content; pale honey

has a more delicate flavour. The pop- have sealed with a wax capping is re-
ularity of dark and light honey varies garded by beekeepers as ready for
from country to country. Colour can harvest. Honey at this stage is pure
also indicate quality, because honey and perfect, whether it is in a wild
becomes darker during storage or if it nest, a home-made hive or the most
is heated. However, some perfectly expensive factory-made hive. The
fresh and unheated kinds of honey subsequent harvesting and process-
can be dark in colour. ing of honey determine whether this
Glucose is a major constituent of quality is retained or whether it will
honey. When the glucose crystal- be spoiled by contamination, over-
lizes, the honey becomes solid and is heating or over-filtration. This means
known as granulated honey. Depend- that rural beekeepers using simple
ing on the plants the bees are visit- equipment can produce honey of top
ing, some kinds of honey are more quality. If the beekeepers are work-
prone to granulation than others; al- ing in remote places far from roads
most all honey granulates if its tem- and industry, the honey may even be
perature falls below 15–24 °C. As
with colour, different people favour
different qualities of honey. Some
prefer granulated honey, while oth-
ers choose liquid honey. Granulation
is a natural process; there is no dif-
ference in nutritional value between
solid and liquid honey. Some kinds
of honey look cloudy because they
contain a high level of pollen. Such
honey is sometimes said to be of low
quality, although the presence of
pollen makes the honey even more
nutritious. In Europe and North
America, a new market is develop-
ing for honey that has been cold-fil-
tered and not processed to remove all
FIGURE 9 Piece of honeycomb in India.
When honey is presented this way, the con-
■ Harvesting honey sumer can see that it is fresh and uncontam-
Honey inside the nest that the bees inated.

certified as organic and command a is therefore important. Water con-
premium price. Honey processing on tent can be measured using a honey
a small-scale requires the same sim- refractometer, which is a small in-
ple equipment that is used in other strument that measures the refrac-
forms of food preparation: bowls, tion of light as it passes through a
sieves or straining cloths and con- glass prism on which a few drops of
tainers. honey have been smeared. In cli-
mates with high humidity where it
■ Water content can be difficult to retain low water
If the water content of honey is content in honey, airtight plastic
greater than 23 percent, the honey is buckets with lids are essential for
likely to ferment. Low water content honey storage.

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods

Values of honey

Honey has value as a food, as a medi-
cine, as a cash crop for both domestic
and export markets and as an impor-
tant part of some cultural traditions.

■ As a food
Honey is valued everywhere as a
sweet and tasty food. At times of

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
food shortage it is a useful carbohy-
drate source that contains trace ele-
ments and adds nutritional diversity
to poor diets. Honey often has an im-
portant place in traditional food

■ As a medicine or tonic
In many parts of the world, honey is
used as a medicine or tonic and as a
special treat for children. Modern FIGURE 10 Honey is a traditional medi-
medicine is increasingly using honey cine or food in nearly all societies. Here in
Uganda, it may be sold in a simple way at
for a variety of treatments. village level.

■ As a cash crop
Fresh local honey is always more remain wholesome for many years.
highly valued than imported honey.
Many beekeepers sell their product di- ■ As an export crop
rectly to consumers. Honey is often As standards of living rise, honey con-
used as a barter commodity in vil- sumption increases. Most industrial-
lages, especially in remote areas or ar- ized countries import honey to meet
eas isolated by war or sanctions. Hon- demand. This requirement can pro-
ey is a stable commodity with a long vide developing countries with a use-
shelf life. If harvested carefully, it will ful source of foreign exchange from

TABLE 1 World honey production and trade, 1997
Production Import Value Export Value
(tonnes) (tonnes) (US$1 000) (tonnes) (US$ 1 000)
Total 1 112 000 317 630 539 820 264 701 453 546
Argentina 65 000 171 336 70 422 108 361
Australia 26 000 30 70 13 287 22 159
Canada 29 000 1 992 3 279 8 408 17 054
China 188 000 2 296 2 393 48 306 69 200
Cuba 6 000 - - 3 800 5
Ethiopia 31 000 - - 1 5 000
Germany 12 000 83 295 130 383 13 061 33 406
Kenya 26 000 20 57 1 1
Mexico 54 000 135 246 26 900 41 090
South Africa 1 000 587 707 27 83
UK 3 000 21 223 37 282 904 2 430
USA 90 000 75 950 124 852 4 111 7 858

Sources: FAO Production Yearbook, Vol. 51; FAO Trade Yearbook, Vol. 51.
Note: This table lists only official figures; although exports from African and Asian countries
are significant, they are unofficial.

FIGURE 11 Packaged in a more sophisticated way, honey generates income (Viet Nam).

honey exports. The countries with ■ As cultural food
the highest honey exports are Mexi- Honey is widely used as a source of
co, China and Argentina. Each coun- sugars for making honey wines and
try has a large beekeeping industry beers. Honey also has a high cultural
that is an important part of their agri- value: eating honey or using it for
cultural economy (see Table 1). All anointing are part of many traditional
developing countries can export hon- birth, marriage and funeral cere-
ey if production is in excess of local monies; this cultural connection is evi-
requirements. Because beekeeping dent in the term “honeymoon”. In the
does not use land, production of hon- Masai society of East Africa, honey is
ey for export need not conflict with used to pay the bride price; in Ethiopia,
growing crops for local consumption. honey wine is brewed for weddings.

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods

Beeswax – useful and valuable product

Beeswax is the material that bees use species of honeybees, although the
to build their nests. It is produced by waxes produced by different species
young honeybees that secrete it as a have slightly different chemical and
liquid from special wax glands. On physical properties.
contact with air, the wax hardens and
forms scales, which appear as small ■ Beeswax quality
flakes of wax on the underside of the Beeswax is valued according to its puri-
bee. About one million wax scales ty and colour. Light-coloured wax is

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
make 1 kg of wax. Bees use the wax more highly valued than dark-coloured
to build the well-known hexagonal wax, because dark wax is likely to have
cells that make up their comb, a very been contaminated or overheated. The
strong and efficient structure. Bees finest beeswax is from wax cappings,
use the comb cells to store honey and which are the wax seals with which
pollen; the queen lays her eggs in bees cover ripe honeycombs. This new
them, and young bees develop in wax is pure and white. The presence of
them. Beeswax is produced by all pollen turns it yellow.

FIGURE 12 Beeswax.

■ Income from beeswax lumps in hessian sacks.
For several reasons beeswax is an ex- • Beeswax does not deteriorate with
cellent commodity for rural communi- age. Individual beekeepers or co-
ties to use as a cash or export crop. operatives can store small amounts
• Beeswax processing is easy. Ren- until they have enough to sell.
dering beeswax to a quality suit- • As with honey, beeswax can be
able for export involves only sim- considered an appropriate export
ple heating and filtering methods to crop for developing countries, be-
ensure that the beeswax is clean. It cause beekeeping does not use land
can be moulded into blocks using required for local food production.
any suitably sized containers as • In areas where most or all of the
moulds. The blocks are broken into honey produced is consumed local-
small pieces to assure buyers that ly and where there is no major local
the beeswax is pure and clean. use for beeswax, honeycombs are
• Transport and storage of beeswax often discarded, even though they
is simple, because no special pack- could provide additional income.
aging is required. Beeswax is nor- Beekeepers sometimes need to be
mally exported as small unwrapped trained in methods of rendering and

FIGURE 13 Beeswax processing in Tanzania.

saving beeswax, and encouraged to it is used in village industries such as
sell their combined crop in one candle-making and as an ingredient in
transaction. ointments, medicines, soaps and pol-
ishes. Beeswax is in great demand on
■ Uses of beeswax the world market. There are more than
Beeswax has many traditional uses. In 300 industrial uses for beeswax. Cos-
some countries in Asia and Africa, it is metics and pharmaceutical industries
used in creating batik fabrics and in the are the major users, accounting for
lost-wax method of casting small met- 70 percent of the world trade, and re-
al objects. Beeswax is widely used as a quire first-class beeswax that has not
waterproofing agent for wood and been overheated. The price ranges
leather, and for strengthening threads; from US$4 to US$8 per kg. Other

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
TABLE 2 World Trade in Beeswax, 1994

Production Export Import
(tonnes) (tonnes) (tonnes)
Angola 1 500
Argentina 1 500
Australia 482 317
Chile 500 264
China 12 800
Dominican Republic 350 206
Ethiopia 2 100 210
France 1 563
Germany 1 275
Japan 766
Kenya 1 050 1 615
Korea 600
Mexico 9 150 50
Portugal 375
Spain 730
Tanzania 1 050 437
Thailand 2 302
Uganda 780
United Kingdom 421
USA 3 027 847

Source: Data from Bees for Development.
Note: A good deal of beeswax is exported from Africa by unofficial routes.

significant users are the beekeeping hunting or the use of traditional or
industries in industrialized countries top-bar hives results in greater
that need beeswax for cosmetic yields of beeswax, however, the del-
foundations and for candle-making. icate honeycomb is broken during
Beeswax is used in the manufacture the extraction of honey and cannot
of electronic components and CDs, be returned to the nest or hive. The
in modelling and casting for indus- ratio of honey to beeswax produc-
try and art, in polishes for shoes, tion using these hives is about 10:1.
furniture and floors, in grafting wax- For this reason countries in Africa,
es and in specialized industrial lu- Asia and Central and South America
bricants. produce large amounts of beeswax,
Industrialized countries use which can provide a valuable export
frame hives for beekeeping. Empty crop (see Table 2). Beeswax is a
honeycombs are returned to the hive valuable export commodity for
after the extraction of honey, which Ethiopia, for example, and beekeep-
means that relatively little beeswax ers in northwest Zambia harvest
is harvested. With frame hives, the both wax and honey from bees nest-
ratio of honey to beeswax produc- ing in bark hives as cash crops for ex-
tion is approximately 75:1. Honey port to Europe.

FIGURE 14 Traders in Pakistan discuss prices of beeswax harvested from wild bee colonies.

Other products from bees

In addition to honey and wax, bees constituents, so it is a potentially use-
will produce a number of other prod- ful source of nutrition. Pollen is rela-
ucts all of which enjoy commercial tively simple to harvest from frame
markets. These include pollen, propo- hives using a trap fitted to the hive
lis and royal jelly. entrance. When the bees pass through
the trap, a grid knocks the pollen out
■ Pollen of the pollen baskets on their back
Pollen is valued as a health food; legs and it falls into a tray, from

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
some people believe that it can help which it is collected. Pollen prices are
to combat allergies. It contains high in Europe and East Asia.
30 percent protein, 30 percent carbo-
hydrate, 5 percent fat and many minor ■ Propolis
Honeybees collect resins and gums
from buds or injured areas of plants.
This glue-like substance, usually dark
brown in colour, is called propolis. As
with honey, propolis differs in com-
position according to the plants from
which bees have been collecting.
Honeybees use propolis to keep their
homes dry, draught proof, secure and
hygienic. Propolis is used to seal up
any cracks where micro-organisms
could flourish; its volatile oils must
serve as a kind of antiseptic air-fresh-
ener. Bees use propolis:
• as building material to decrease
the size of nest entrances and to
make the surface smooth for pass-
ing bee traffic;
• to varnish inside brood cells be-
FIGURE 15 Pollen ready for harvest. fore a queen lays eggs in them,

providing a strong, waterproof and bacteria. It is a common ingredi-
hygienic unit for developing lar- ent in toothpaste, soaps and oint-
vae; ments. Dissolving propolis in al-
• to embalm the bodies of mice or cohol makes a tincture with many
other predators too large for bees claimed medicinal properties.
to eject from the nest, which Propolis can be a useful income
would otherwise decay and be a source: its current world price is
source of infection. about US$10 per kg. For bee-
T h e A p i s f l o re a , o n e o f t h e keepers in remote areas, access to
Asian honeybee species, uses markets is more of a problem
rings of propolis like bands of than harvesting the product.
grease to coat the branch from
which its single-comb nest is sus- ■ Royal jelly
pended as a protection from pred- Royal jelly is the food that worker
ators. Propolis has long been used bees give to freshly hatched larvae.
as a medicine; it has been proved It contains many insect growth hor-
scientifically that propolis kills mones and is valued as a medicine,

FIGURE 16 Since the 1970s, royal jelly harvested from European races of honeybees has
been an export crop for beekeepers in Thailand.

tonic or aphrodisiac in various parts queen cells. Instead of feeding on it
of the world. Royal jelly has many and developing into queen bees, the
different components including pro- larvae are removed and the royal jel-
teins, sugars, fats, minerals and vita- ly is harvested by beekeepers.
mins. Harvesting royal jelly and its sub-
Under natural conditions, a larva sequent processing and packaging
destined to become a queen bee de- call for skilled techniques of honey-
velops in a special large wax cell, in- bee colony manipulation and sophis-
side which worker bees place large ticated technology. Royal jelly dete-
amounts of royal jelly. Honeybee riorates quickly after harvest and
colonies can be manipulated by bee- must be kept frozen or freeze-dried
keepers to start producing great during handling, storage, transport
numbers of queens, perhaps 50 or and marketing. The main countries

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
more, specifically to produce royal harvesting royal jelly commercially
jelly for harvest. Worker bees pro- are China, Taiwan and Thailand. The
duce vast amounts of royal jelly – main market for royal jelly is Japan;
extra sugar must be fed to the colony relatively small amounts are import-
to achieve this – and place it in the ed by other industrialized countries.

Value-added products

It is to the advantage of producers to bring a good price at market and is a
find ways of adding value to bee popular product for sale to tourists.
products, as opposed to selling only It is easy to make profits from
the raw products. The manufacture of beeswax by manufacturing oint-
value-added products from beekeep- ments or cosmetics. It is essential to
ing can involve various groups, some work in hygienic conditions, and to
of whom may not be interested in ac- have good knowledge of the ingredi-
tually keeping bees or have the means ents and products and access to small

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
to do so. Honey, beeswax, pollen or containers for packaging and mar-
propolis can be used in a variety of keting. Making wax candles may be
foods, cosmetics, ointments and other the easiest way to increase profits
goods that can be made and sold lo-
cally, creating more livelihood oppor-
Beeswax provides an excellent
material for making high-quality
soap. The main difficulty in soap pro-
duction is obtaining and safely han-
dling caustic soda (sodium hydrox-
ide), which is an important ingredi-
ent. In some villages, people know
the techniques required to produce
ash for making caustic soda, and
these methods can be used. There are
many traditional ways of making
soap that can be modified and im-
proved by including beeswax.
Beeswax used in soap must be of ex-
cellent quality – pure, golden or pale
yellow in colour and not damaged by
FIGURE 17 Using beeswax in the lost-wax
heat. If it is neatly made and attrac- casting method to make small metal orna-
tively packaged, beeswax soap can ments for sale to tourists in Ghana.

from harvested beeswax. In develop- made by lost-wax casting – both
ing countries with tourist industries, processes use beeswax – can create
batik art and small metal ornaments livelihoods for artisans.

FIGURE 18 Using beeswax in batik work. (Malaysia).

Apitherapy: healing with bee products

It is said that the word “medicine” used in apitherapy.
derives from “mead” (honey wine). Honey has antibiotic properties:
Whether or not this is true, honey it is a sterile solution with a high
and the products of bees have long sugar concentration that prevents
been used as medicine. Countries in the growth of micro-organisms. It is
Asia and eastern Europe have a highly acid. It contains enzymes
wealth of traditional knowledge of which produce hydrogen peroxide
apitherapy – the healing properties that kills bacteria. Honey is good for

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
of bee products. In recent years, healing wounds and for skin treat-
there has been a worldwide revival ment: its hygroscopic property is
of interest. Honey, beeswax, propo- good for drying out wounds, and its
lis and bee venom, used in bee-sting permeability allows oxygen to pass
therapy, are the main bee products through it.

FIGURE 19 Propolis for sale in Brazil.

Propolis also has medicinal prop- the very substances exuded by
erties: the gums and resins that bees plants for their own protection and
gather from plants for propolis are healing.

FIGURE 20 Wide range of bee products for sale.

In brief: how to keep bees

Honey hunting, or plundering the swarm of bees to occupy it. This
nests of wild honeybees to obtain will only be successful in areas
honey and beeswax, is practised where there are still plenty of hon-
throughout the world wherever eybee colonies. The best way to start
colonies of wild nesting honeybees is with the assistance of local bee-
are abundant. It has been known for keepers.
thousands of years, however, that ob- During the last quarter of the
taining honey is easier and more con- twentieth century, bee diseases were

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
venient if bees are encouraged to nest spread around the world as a result of
inside a hive. This housing of bees in people moving honeybee colonies;
a container is true “beekeeping”, but there were serious consequences for
the term is used loosely to describe all the beekeeping industries in some
the techniques involving bees and the countries. The few regions without
harvesting and processing of their introduced honeybee diseases are
products. There are many ways to uti- mainly in developing countries. It
lize honeybees for their pollination will be beneficial if these countries
services or to obtain products from can retain their stocks of disease-free
them. The methods used will be de- honeybees. Honeybee colonies, or
termined by the types of bees avail- even single queen bees, and used bee-
able, and the skills and resources keeping equipment must never be
available to the beekeeper. moved from one area to another with-
out expert consideration of the conse-
■ Obtaining bees quences.
Bees can be obtained by transferring
a wild nesting colony to a hive. The ■ Choice of hives
wild colony will already have a Beekeeping does not need to take up
number of combs, which can be tied valuable land. Depending on type,
to top-bars or into the frames of a hives may be placed in trees, on
hive. Another way to get started is to scraps of wasteland or flat rooftops.
set up a hive, perhaps rubbed inside This makes beekeeping feasible for
with some beeswax to give it an at- smallholders and landless people. A
tractive smell, and wait for a passing good site should have a water source

nearby, plenty of flowering plants and it in a natural cavity. The beekeeper
trees in the area and shelter from plunders the nest to obtain crops of
wind and strong sunlight. A hive is honey and beeswax. Bees may or may
any container provided for honeybees not be killed during this process, de-
to nest in. There are three main types: pending on the skill of the beekeeper.
traditional hives, movable-frame If the colony is destroyed, the hive
hives and top-bar hives. will remain empty for a while. If there
are plenty of honeybee colonies in the
■ Traditional hives area, a swarm may eventually settle in
These are made from local materials the empty hive and start building a
such as hollowed-out logs, bark new nest. Traditional beekeepers of-
formed into a cylinder, clay pots, wo- ten own many hives and expect only a
ven grass or cane – whatever is suit- portion to be occupied by bees at any
able and available. The sole purpose one time.
of the hive is to encourage bees to All the materials required should
nest in a place accessible to the bee- be locally available, but traditional
keeper. The bees build their nest in- beekeepers can benefit from assis-
side the hive, just as they would build tance in obtaining protective clothing,

FIGURE 21 Traditional local hives made from logs in Bhutan.

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
FIGURE 22 End removed to show inside a traditional hive: the bees build their combs from
the top of the hive.

smokers and containers for the honey, may be constructed from whatever
and help in locating markets for their materials are locally available. Many
products. different designs have been published
(see Aidoo, 1999 and Sakho, 1999).
■ Top-bar hives All equipment can be made local-
Top-bar hives have the same advan- ly. The only items that need to be con-
tages of manageability and efficiency structed with precision are the top
in harvesting honey as movable- bars, which must provide the same
frame hives, without the disadvantage spacing for combs in the hive that the
of high manufacturing costs. To make bees would use in the natural nest.
the hives manageable, bees are en- This spacing will depend upon the
couraged to construct their combs species and race of honeybee. As a
from the undersides of a series of very general guide, the width of top
bars. These bars allow individual bars needed for Apis mellifera of Eu-
combs to be lifted from the hive by ropean origin is 35 mm, Apis mellif-
the beekeeper. As with traditional lo- era in Africa – 32 mm and Apis cer-
cal hives, the container for the hive ana in Asia – 30 mm. The best way to

FIGURE 23 Top-bar hive beekeeping in Cape Verde.

determine the optimum width is to
measure the spacing between combs
in a wild nest of the same bees. The
volume of the brood box should be
roughly equal to the volume of the
cavity occupied by wild nesting hon-
An advantage of this type of
equipment is that it opens up bee-
keeping to new groups of people. In
some countries, traditional beekeep-
ing tends to be an activity for men on-
ly, who use hives made from bark,
kept deep in forests. Groups of
women beekeepers may prefer to be-
gin beekeeping with top-bar hives
that can be made and kept close to
FIGURE 24 Top bar and comb. home. Top-bar hives can also be an

• They allow for efficient harvesting
of honey, because the honeycombs
in their frames can be emptied and
returned to the hive, which allows
increased honey production be-
cause the bees do not have to build
fresh combs.
Frame hives consist of a series of
boxes, usually of wood, stacked on
top of one another. Frames are
arranged in the boxes like suspension
files in a filing cabinet. The bottom
box is usually used for the brood nest,

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
which is where the queen lays her
eggs and young bees develop. A
queen excluder – a metal grid with
holes that allow worker bees to pass
through but not the larger queen – is
FIGURE 25 Top-bar hive in Nepal. placed between the box with the
brood and the box above it. This en-
inexpensive way of housing large sures that only honey is stored in the
numbers of colonies for pollination boxes above the queen excluder. A
purposes. hive stand, floor and roof are re-
quired, along with various other spe-
■ Movable-frame hives cialized items of equipment.
These hives are used in most industri- Frame hives must be constructed
alized countries and some developing with precision. Boxes must fit togeth-
countries, especially in Central and er precisely and the spacing between
South America and Asia. Rectangular frames must be the same as in a natu-
wood or plastic frames are used to ral nest. Frame hives require seasoned
support the combs. These frames timber that is accurately cut and
have two major advantages. planed and materials such as wire,
• They allow for inspection and ma- nails and foundation. They are there-
nipulation of colonies, such as fore relatively labour-intensive to
moving frames of bees or honey- make and maintain. There must be ac-
filled frames (stores) from a strong cess to replacement parts, particularly
colony to strengthen a weaker one. foundations and frames. The spaces

between combs, nest volume and able for other races and species of
other features of standard frame honeybees. When buying equipment
hives have been developed for use it is important to have an understand-
with European honeybees in Europe, ing of the honeybees to be housed
North and Central America and Aus- and the specifications of the equip-
tralasia and are not necessarily suit- ment offered.

FIGURE 26 Beekeepers with their frame hives in Albania.

Beekeeping equipment

■ Smoker from one part of the hive to another.
A smoker provides beekeepers with a Imported smokers are useful as proto-
source of cool smoke needed to calm types, but smokers can be manufac-
the bees. The smoker consists of a fu- tured by village blacksmiths, which
el box containing smouldering fuel adds to local livelihoods.
such as dried cow dung, hessian,
maize cobs or cardboard, and has a ■ Protective clothing
bellows attached. The beekeeper A broad-brimmed hat with a veil pro-

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
puffs a little smoke near the entrance tects the head and neck from stings.
of the hive before it is opened and Protective clothing gives beginner
gently smokes the bees to move them beekeepers confidence; more experi-
enced beekeepers find that wearing
too much protective clothing makes
them hot and the bulk makes it diffi-
cult to work sufficiently gently with
the bees. Some beekeepers merely
put a plastic bag over each hand, se-
cured at the wrist with a rubber band.
Rubber bands also prevent bees from
crawling up trouser legs or shirt-
sleeves. Imported clothing can pro-
vide useful prototypes, but beekeep-
ing clothes – basically modified over-
alls – can be made locally, thus pro-
viding a useful stimulus for local in-

■ Hive tool
Some bee species tend to close every
gap and seal every joint in the hive
FIGURE 27 Equipment for small-scale with propolis. The hive tool is a handy
beekeeping should be made locally: a man-
ufacturer of smokers in The Gambia. piece of metal used to separate boxes,

scrape off odd bits of beeswax and Alternatively, the honeycomb can be
separate frame-ends from the sup- broken and strained through muslin
ports. It is possible to use an old knife or another form of filter to separate
for this job, but knife blades tend to be the honey from the beeswax. After the
too flexible and give insufficient honey has been separated from the
leverage. Village blacksmiths can eas- combs, the beeswax can be melted
ily produce suitable implements. gently over water into a block. Hon-
eycombs harvested by honey hunters
■ Harvesting and processing can be processed in the same way.
Honey is harvested at the end of a Honey is obtained from frame
flowering season. In traditional or hives by spinning the frames in a cen-
top-bar hives, the beekeeper selects trifugal extractor. The empty honey-
combs which contain ripe honey cov- combs are then returned to the hive.
ered with a fine layer of white Because the combs are recycled, bees
beeswax, usually those nearest the put effort into honey production
outside of the nest. Combs containing rather than beeswax comb produc-
pollen or developing bees are left tion. This explains why the beeswax
undisturbed. Honeycomb can be sim- yield from frame-hive beekeeping is
ply cut into pieces and sold for a pre- low compared to traditional beekeep-
mium price as fresh cut-comb honey. ing methods.

Promoting beekeeping projects
as a source of livelihoods

There are many different entry points Central and South America currently
for projects to strengthen livelihoods form the basis of successful beekeep-
with beekeeping, such as including ing industries.
trees for bees within planting
schemes to improve pollination and ■ Human resources: beekeeping
increase crop harvests, assisting hon- skills, training and extension
ey hunters through beekeeping or Beekeeping is a widespread activity

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
making and marketing honey wines with a wealth of existing local knowl-
or beeswax cosmetics. Beekeeping edge and skills. The addition of a lit-
projects have been started in many tle technical information, however,
developing countries and are fre- can lead to greatly improved harvests
quently supported by international or- of honey and beeswax. There are
ganizations, governments or NGOs. many ways to assist honey hunters or
Beekeeping fits in well with other in- beekeepers to build on their resources
terventions and is often incorporated to create more income by harvesting
as one of a number implemented. and processing honey more skilfully,
Some minimum resources, however, and to obtain better prices by saving
should normally be available to peo- and selling beeswax and by making
ple. secondary products.
Beekeepers and trainers often lack
■ Natural resources: indigenous appropriate training materials – most
species of the literature discusses keeping Eu-
Beekeeping projects can improve the ropean bees in temperate zone condi-
potential for beekeeping by planting tions. Training is often theoretical
melliferous vegetation. Indigenous rather than practical, placing emphasis
honeybees have evolved and survived on changing the type of hive used
successfully under local conditions without providing practical guidance
and will be better suited to them than and follow up. New beekeepers need
introduced bees. The European hon- training in how to work with bees,
eybees introduced into many coun- how to maintain honey quality, how to
tries and African bees introduced into separate honey from beeswax, how to

render beeswax, how to manufacture to train local people to make their own
secondary products and how to make equipment and find access to good
beekeeping clothes and equipment. containers and packaging, and credit
with which to acquire them.
The equipment needed for bee-
keeping can be simple: the humble
plastic bucket is one of the most essen-
tial items. Recommending good-quali-
ty, lidded, stackable plastic buckets
may not bring great professional ku-
dos to the beekeeping expert, but such
buckets are useful for beekeepers liv-
ing in remote places who need to keep
their honey clean until they are able to
sell it. Honey of excellent quality can
be harvested as long as clean buckets
are available, along with cotton or bas-
kets for sieving honey and containers
for melting wax and packaging the
honey and other products.
The appropriate equipment for
harvesting and processing honey and
FIGURE 28 Ethiopian beekeepers carrying beeswax depends on the quantities to
their honey to market. Lack of access to be processed and the type of product
transport and markets is usually the major required. In some areas, beekeeping
constraint for beekeepers in remote places.
using traditional local hives is prac-
tised on a large scale and justifies the
■ Physical resources: equipment and provision of relatively sophisticated,
transport large-scale processing equipment ca-
Limited access to transport is the main pable of dealing with honey in bulk.
reason why beekeepers in remote ar- Where a cooperative has established a
eas receive the lowest prices for their honey-packing unit, a few specialized
products. Projects can do much to al- items often have to be imported, such
leviate this problem. Rural people can as effective taps for use on honey
find it difficult to obtain equipment, containers, special gauze for filtering
containers and packaging. The answer honey and refractometers to measure
is not merely to donate the items but water content.

■ Financial resources: credit policies are needed to promote api-
In poor societies, lack of credit is a culture and protect pollinators. A na-
major constraint to everyone con- tional NGO is a considerable advan-
cerned with selling and buying honey. tage and able to represent the interests
Beekeepers with honey to sell expect of beekeepers, establish communica-
to receive cash from honey-collection tion between producers and traders
centres or private-sector traders; oth- and facilitate marketing.
erwise they prefer to sell their honey In many developing countries,
in small quantities in markets to ob- much can be done to increase retail
tain an instant but low cash return. honey sales, for example, by improv-
People buying honey need access to ing and diversifying packaging, espe-
credit during the honey season. Lack cially for small volume markets. Mar-
of credit leads to insignificant vol- keting initiatives can involve promot-

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
umes of honey being available for ing honey in the media, interacting
sale, no interest from traders and a with consumers and traders to in-
stagnant industry. crease honey consumption and sales,
and creating links with packaging
■ Social resources: sector support and suppliers. Honey consumption in-
marketing creases according to living standards;
In poor countries, there are usually people are keen to buy honey when it
government officers responsible for is well presented and they have more
training and extension in beekeeping. confidence in the product.
Often, however, they have little rele- The first aim of a marketing initia-
vant training and lack access to trans- tive should be import replacement,
port and other resources. National which means ensuring that local

Project planning

• Establish the most effective entry point for a beekeeping intervention,
for example, by providing assistance with technical aspects of beekeep-
ing or product marketing.
• Ascertain that the planned intervention is appropriate for the people con-
• Recognize that beekeepers are often the poorest people in local society
and may live in remote places; focus the intervention to reach them.
• Determine that the producer groups will have market access, if more
honey and beeswax are harvested.

honey is packaged and presented as ■ Project evaluation
attractively as the imported brands. Many beekeeping projects have in-
Only when the local need for honey is volved the distribution of hives and
satisfied should export be planned, as equipment and the provision of tech-
inexpensive honey is readily avail- nical training. Donors and local lead-
able on the world market. In some ers might be satisfied with the out-
countries, producers have benefited come of such projects when shown
from having their honey or beeswax convincing numbers of new hives in-
certified as organic or produced ac- stalled in new apiaries. Closer exami-
cording to fair-trade criteria. This nation, however, often reveals that
type of certification can help small- hives of a newly introduced technolo-
scale producers to find niche markets gy are not always used efficiently.
that pay premium prices. Honey ex- Good training and follow up are es-
port to the European Community re- sential. Beekeeping is a seasonal ac-
quires expert knowledge of trade tivity, and it cannot be learned in the
rules and import requirements (Brad- classroom. The true test of success in
bear, 2001). any beekeeping development project

FIGURE 29 Many beekeeping projects have introduced technology the use of which could not
be sustained after the end of the project. Here, a storeroom full of unused equipment is all that
remains from a project that depended on imported equipment and materials.

should not be “How many hives were machinery for making hives that may
distributed?” but “Were people’s become unusable as soon as a spare
livelihoods strengthened?” part is needed. Training is sometimes
Small interventions such as bee- irrelevant to local resources and
keeping projects are not always pop- knowledge.
ular with donors. In poor societies, Frame-hive equipment should not
however, large beekeeping projects be used unless the infrastructure ex-
with high capital input are frequently ists for manufacturing it locally.
doomed to failure. In far too many Frame-hive beekeeping is practised
beekeeping projects, a well-meaning in all industrialized countries and
donor has allocated a significant many projects have tried to introduce
budget to a project, a large portion of this type of beekeeping in poor coun-
which is inevitably intended for tries. It is essential that the a commu-

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
equipment. This has led to equipment nity have the physical, human, natu-
being introduced that is not always ral and financial assets to support
appropriate to the resources avail- this type of beekeeping, if such a
able, such as imported woodworking project is to succeed.

■ Case studies

Case study of an individual bee farmer: Gladstone Solomon, Tobago

My grandfather was a self-employed cocoa farmer and agriculture always attracted
me. But not having been prepared for cutlass-and-hoe farming, I had to find a less
rigorous activity. Gazing at a honeybee landing on a dew-soaked flower early one
morning awakened a sense of destiny within me. I knew then that I would eventual-
ly become a beekeeper.
A three-day introductory course at the Farmers’ Training Centre in Trinidad
gave me my first exposure to beekeeping. This was supported by practical sessions
at the Apiaries Unit Tobago with two of the island’s more experienced beekeepers.
After this I started beekeeping with two nucleus hives.
I read anything on the subject and made contacts with as many beekeepers as
possible. A British beekeeper who visited the island on several occasions was par-
ticularly helpful, not only to me but to the island beekeeping community, which
was organized as a cohesive and vi-
brant group: The Tobago Apicultural
My wife Sharon and I now manage
approximately 70 colonies and market
honey (extracted and chunk), beeswax,
pollen and – the latest addition to our
product line – handcrafted soaps with
beeswax and honey. Our three sons
earn pocket money by assisting in var-
ious aspects of the business.

July, 2001

FIGURE 30 Gladstone Solomon harvesting

Case study of a project for beekeepers in Uganda: Joy Mugisha,
the UWESO UK Trust

Our first project was in the Luwero District, an area severely ravaged during
the civil war. Beginning in 1995, participants were trained in the production
of honey and beeswax, equipment was provided and a honey-processing
centre was installed. The project is now self-sustaining.
Typically, a trained project officer from the NGO Uganda Women’s Effort to Save
Orphans (UWESO) provides training, advice and starter equipment to families sup-
porting orphans and chosen by the local UWESO branch. The beekeepers develop the
hives and gradually increase the number, so that after two or three years a family may
be operating about 30 hives. Each hive should produce two crops of honey and wax

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
each year, which can be taken to the UWESO collecting centre and sold to local com-
panies for local and export markets. This can provide a return of perhaps US$1 400 in
a year – well above the average family income level in rural areas.
The cost of such a project to the Trust is about US$140 000 including the costs of
the project officer, equipment and a collecting and processing centre. If 150 families
can each increase their annual earnings by US$1 400 - the return on the single in-
vestment of US$140 000 is, amazingly, about US$210 000 each year! Even if some
families underperform, the financial returns amply justify the investment.

July, 2001

FIGURE 31 The UWESO honey and beeswax collection centre at Lyantonde, Uganda.

FAO project example – Iraq: requirement for technical assistance

In 1995 the Iraq Beekeepers’ Association approached the United Nations
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) for assistance. Members ex-
pressed their concern about the widespread deaths of honeybee colonies in
During the 1970s and 1980s, beekeepers in Iraq practised sophisticated bee-
keeping, depending largely on imported equipment and stocks of honeybees. This
ended following the enforcement of United Nations sanctions in 1991. Beekeepers
were no longer able to import the beeswax foundation used in frame-hive beekeep-
ing. Lack of beeswax and equipment to make foundation led to the use of contami-
nated material and a build-up of disease in honeybee populations. The isolation of
Iraq meant that beekeepers were unaware of the rapidly changing status of bee dis-
ease and current methods of control, especially of the predatory mite Varroa.
FAO provided technical assistance to help identify and control honeybee dis-
eases and mites, and to support local manufacture of clean stocks of beeswax foun-

FIGURE 32 Making fresh beeswax founda-
tion, Iraq.

FAO project example – St Vincent and the Grenadines: requirement
for sector support

The St Vincent Ministry of Agriculture recognized the need for local farm-
ers to diversify beyond banana production. In 1996, they requested FAO as-
sistance to encourage farmers to take up beekeeping. This assistance would
ensure adequate stocks of bees for pollination of alternative new fruit crops,
and would enable some farmers to create income from beekeeping.
FAO assistance came in the form of capacity-building: training ministry staff
in beekeeping, establishing demonstration apiaries for farmers, developing a train-
ing programme, encouraging local manufacturers to begin making beekeeping
equipment and proposing policies for protecting the beekeeping industry. St Vin-

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
cent currently enjoys the rare situation of disease-free stocks of bees.

FIGURE 33 Making beekeeping clothes in St Vincent.

FAO project example – Afghanistan: assistance for people living under stress

Beekeeping has traditionally always been a successful part of Afghan agri-
culture, with many fruit and oilseed crops requiring pollination by bees. The
current war situation in Afghanistan has led to restrictions on movement and
loss of resources and opportunities for livelihood creation. Despite the lack
of resources, beekeeping remains a livelihood option, because bees are
available and equipment can be made locally.
FAO provided training for women and men beekeepers. Since beekeeping can
be practised in a home compound, beekeeping was regarded by the Taliban regime
as an acceptable activity for women in Afghanistan. In addition to harvesting hon-
ey, a highly valued food under current circumstances, the women learned to make
skin ointments and other secondary products useful for people living in harsh and
isolated conditions. Men and women have been given training in making all the
equipment needed for frame-hive beekeeping, so that they can continue without
need for external inputs.

FIGURE 34 Training Afghan beekeepers:
in the first part of the course trainees made
their own veils.

Case study: disabled beekeepers – agro-industries development

Disabled people face particular difficulties in earning sufficient income. For
much of their lives, they remain dependent on a caring family and the soci-
ety around them. In poor communities where sufficient resources are never
available, disabled people frequently become marginalized and forgotten,
and they may lose confidence in themselves.
An NGO in Mauritius has shown that this need not be so. It has trained many
disabled people in the country to become practical beekeepers and has set up a net-
work of community producers. In 1997, Craft Aid of Rodrigues established a mod-
el apiary as part of its honey department. It provides the organizational skills train-
ing that supplies beekeepers with equipment, materials and information, and buys

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
surplus honey and wax for processing and sale. The department has a staff of nine,
more than half of whom are handicapped. They target the tourist trade and select-
ed overseas retail markets to sell honey and other products that match the highest
international standards. They have won medals at the prestigious National Honey
Show held in London each November. Training, production and sales are prof-
Craft Aid recently shared its experience with the publication of a booklet enti-
tled Small enterprise development, which is available on the FAO website; for
more information check out the Craft Aid website.

Paul Draper
Craft Aid
Port Mathurin
Rodrigues Island

Some apicultural terms

Apiary The location of a number of colonies.
Apiculture The science and art of bees and beekeeping.
Apis The genus to which honeybees belong.
Apis cerana An Asian species of honeybee that can be kept inside hives.
Apis dorsata The giant or rock honeybee, indigenous to Asia.
Apis florea A species of honeybee indigenous to some parts of Asia and
the Middle East. It nests in the open and cannot be kept in-
side hives.

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
Apis mellifera The honeybee species indigenous to Africa, Europe and the
Middle East. European races have been widely introduced
to other areas, including the Americas, Asia, Australasia
and the Pacific. African races have been introduced to
South America and have spread to Central America and the
United States.
Bark hive A hive made from the bark of trees.
Batik A technique for producing designs on cloth by putting wax
on those parts of the cloth to be protected from dye.
Bee space A gap large enough for bees to walk and work in, for exam-
ple, the space between two parallel combs or between a
comb and the wall of the hive.
Beeswax Wax produced by honeybees, secreted by special glands on
the underside of the abdomen, and used to build comb.
Box hive One of the many types of hives used to keep bees.
Brood All stages of immature honeybees: eggs, larvae and pupae.
Cell A single hexagonal wax compartment, the basic unit of a
comb. Each honeybee develops in a cell. Honey and pollen
are stored in cells.
Chunk honey See cut-comb honey.
Colony Honeybees are social insects; they live only as part of a
colony and not individually. Each colony of honeybees con-
tains one queen bee who is the female parent of the colony, a
few hundred drone bees and thousands of worker bees.

Comb The wax structure made of hexagonal cells in which honey-
bees rear young and store food.
Cross-pollination The transfer of pollen between flowers of different plants of
the same species. Plants that are not self-fertilizing must be
cross-pollinated before they can develop seeds. Many crops
depend on cross-pollination by insects.
Cut-comb honey Pieces of honeycomb containing honey and presented for
sale with the honey still in the comb.
Diversity The number of plant and animal species in an area.
Drone A male honeybee. Drones undertake no work within the hive:
their sole function is to fertilize the queen.
Extractor The centrifugal machine in which honey is spun out of cells
in frames of honeycomb.
Fair trade Development charities have agreed international standards of
fair trade for commodities produced in poor countries. Mem-
ber organizations cooperate in awarding fair trade marks and
labels to products that meet fair trade criteria. Issues include
freedom of association, working conditions, wage levels and
use of child labour. In addition to honey and beeswax, the
products include coffee, chocolate, orange juice, tea, sugar
and bananas.
Fixed-comb hive A hive in which bees build their nests with the combs at-
tached to the wall of the hive. The combs cannot be detached
from the hive without breaking them.
Forage Flowering plants that provide nectar and pollen for bees.
Forager A worker honeybee that collects pollen, nectar, water or
propolis for the colony.
Foundation A thin sheet of beeswax embossed with the hexagonal pat-
tern of a comb. A sheet of foundation is placed in each wood-
en frame and serves as a base on which honeybees build their
comb. This accelerates the process of comb construction.
Without foundation, honeybees would not necessarily build
their comb in the orientation required by the beekeeper.
Frame A rectangular wooden frame that holds a sheet of wax foun-
dation. A number of frames hang parallel to one another in-
side the hive.

Frame hive A hive that contains frames. The honeybees are encouraged
to build their combs in these frames. The frames then enable
combs to be lifted from the hive for examination, which al-
lows the recycling of combs.
Granulated honey Honey in which some of the sugars have crystallized.
Hive Any container provided by people within which bees can
build their nest.
Honey Nectar or plant sap ingested by bees, concentrated by them
and stored in combs.
Honey hunting Plundering wild bee colonies for their honey.
Honeybees Species of bees belonging to the genus Apis. All are social
bees that store significant quantities of honey.

Beekeeping and sustainable livelihoods
Livelihood A way of making a living.
Local hive A hive made from local materials; often a fixed-comb hive.
Lost-wax casting A technique for making an object by casting it in molten met-
al. The model is created in wax then covered with a shell of
clay. The wax model and its clay coat are then fired to hard-
en the clay and melt the wax. The wax is then poured out and
replaced by molten metal.
Low-technology hive A hive that is simple, cheap, reliable and repairable.
Meliponinae The subfamily to which all stingless bees belong.
Movable-frame hive A hive containing frames.
Nectar A sweet liquid secreted by flowers. It is a watery solution of
various sugars.
Nest The home of a bee colony where bees live on their comb or
Nucleus A small colony of bees created by a beekeeper from an exist-
ing colony or colonies; it is used to increase colony numbers
or to rear queens and breed bees.
Organic honey Generally taken to mean honey that is free from any residues
of pesticides, fertilizers, drug treatments or heavy metals.
Pollen The fine dust-like substances that are the male reproductive
cells of flowering plants. Collected by bees as a food source.
Pollination The transfer of pollen from the anther of a flower to the stig-
ma of the flower, or the stigma of another flower.

Pollination agent Bees act as pollination agents when they transfer pollen from
one flower to another. Apart from insects, other agents that
may bring about the transfer of pollen are wind, gravity, nec-
tar-seeking birds and bats.
Propolis Plant resins collected by honeybees and used by them to seal
cracks and gaps in the hive.
Protective clothing Clothing to protect beekeepers from being stung by bees.
Queen The female parent of the colony; the only sexually developed
Refractometer An instrument used to measure the refractive index of honey,
and from which sugar concentration and water content can
be calculated.
Sustainable Development that meets the needs of the present without
development compromising the ability of future generations to meet their
own needs - as defined by the Rio Declaration on Environ-
ment and Development at the 1992 United Nations Earth
Sustainable A way of thinking about objectives, scope and priorities
livelihoods for development; an approach to understanding the nature of
approach poverty and to implementing and assessing poverty-reduc-
tion interventions.
Top bar A piece of wood on which honeybees build their comb in a
top-bar hive.
Top-bar hive A hive containing top bars. Honeybees build parallel combs
suspended from a series of parallel top bars; this enables the
beekeeper to lift individual combs from the hive for inspec-
tion or to harvest honey, as with frame hives.
Traditional hive This usually means a hive made according to local tradition.
Most traditional hives are fixed-comb hives.

Further information
websites, books, videos and CDs
■ Sustainable livelihoods approaches
Ashley, C. & Carney, D. 1999. Sustainable livelihoods: lessons from early experi-
ence. DFID, London.
Chambers, R. & Conway, G.R. 1992. Sustainable rural livelihoods: practical con-
cepts for the twenty-first century. IDS Discussion Paper, Institute Dev. Studies, Uni-
versity of Sussex, Brighton, UK.

■ Pollination
Delaplane, K. & Mayer, D. 2000. Crop pollination by bees. CABI, Wallingford, UK.
Free, J.B. 1999. Pollination in the tropics. Beekeeping & Development, 50: 10–11;
51: 6–7; 53: 4–5.
Roubik, D.W. 1995. Pollination of cultivated plants in the tropics. FAO Agricultural
Services Bulletin No. 118. FAO, Rome, Italy.
Sommeijer, M. & De Ruitjer, A. 2000. Insect pollination in greenhouses. Hilvaren-
beek: Research Centre for Insect Pollination and Beekeeping; Utrecht University,
Utrecht, The Netherlands.

■ Video
Partap, U. 2001. Warning signals from the Apple Valleys. 31 minutes. PAL/VHS.

■ Online resources
DFID Livelihoods Connect:
Inter-agency Experiences and Lessons: DFID/FAO forum on operationalizing sustain-
able livelihoods approaches
(available at
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD):
Overseas Development Institute (ODI):
United Nations Development Programme Sustainable Livelihoods Unit:

■ Bees around the world
Crane, E. 1999. The world history of beekeeping and honey hunting. Duckworth.
O’Toole, C. & Raw, A. 1999. Bees of the world. Cassell. London, UK
Michener, C.D. 2000. The bees of the world. Johns Hopkins University Press. London.
Velthuis, H. 1997. The biology of stingless bees. Utrecht University; Utrecht, The
Netherlands & University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil.
Winston, M. 1991. The biology of the honeybee. Harvard University Press. Boston,
Mass., USA.

■ Videos
Al-Alawi, H.B.S. 1996. The documentary: honeybees in Oman. 45 minutes.
Kasterberger, G. 1999. The magic trees of Assam. 51 minutes. PAL/VHS/NTSC.
Kasterberger, G. 2000. Defence strategies of giant honeybees. 23 minutes.

Freitas, B.M. 1999. A vida das abelhas. Universidade Federal do Ceara, Fortelaza,
Brazil. (In Portuguese).

■ Honey
Gonnet, M. & Vache, G. 1989. A taste of honey. Bucharest, Apimondia Publishing House.
Sawyer, R. 1988. Honey identification. Cardiff, UK, Cardiff Academic Press.
Sommeijer, M., Beetsma, J., Boot, W., Robberts, E.J. & De Vries, R. 1997. Perspec-
tives for honey production in the tropics. NECTAR. Utrecht, The Netherlands.

■ Beeswax
Battershill, N., Constable, D., Crouch, L., Duffin, L. & Pinder, P. 1996. Beeswax
crafts. Search Press. Tunbridge Wells, UK.
Millington, D. 1992. Traditional methods of candle making. IT Publications. London.

■ Other products from bees
D’Albore, G.R. 1997. Textbook of melissopalynology. Apimondia Publishing House.
Bucharest, Romania.

■ Making value-added products
Bianchi, E.M. 1990. Control de calidad de la miel y la cera. FAO Agricultural Ser-
vices Bulletin No. 68/3. FAO, Rome, Italy. (In Spanish).
Krell, R. 1996. Value-added products from beekeeping. FAO Agricultural Ser-
vices Bulletin No. 124. FAO, Rome, Italy.
(Also available at:
Riches, H.R. 1997. Mead: making, exhibiting and judging. Bee Books New and Old.
Charlestown, UK.
White, E. 1995. Soap: seventy tried and true ways to make modern soap with herbs,
beeswax and vegetable oils. Valley Hills Press. Starkville, USA.

■ Video
Wendorf, H. 1999. Beekeeping in development. 81 minutes. PAL/VHS.

■ Apitherapy
Kaal, J. 1991. Natural medicine from honeybees. Kaal’s Printing House. Amsterdam,
The Netherlands.
Riches, H. 2001. Medical aspects of beekeeping. HR Books. Northwood, UK.

Cherbuliez, T. & Domerego, R. 2001. Medicine from the bees. Apimondia Standing Com-
mission for Apitherapy. Apimondia. Rome, Italy. (In English, French and Spanish.).

■ Online resource
Apimondia Standing Commission for Apitherapy:

■ Beekeeping in brief: how it is done
Aidoo, K. 1999. The Saltpond hive. Beekeeping & Development, 50: 6–7.
Clauss, B. 1991. Zambian beekeeping handbook. Beekeeping Division of the
Forestry Department. Ndola, Zambia.
Collins, P. & Solomon, G. 1999. Proceedings of the First Caribbean Beekeeping
Congress, 1998. Tobago Apicultural Society and Tobago House of Assembly.
Trinidad and Tobago.
Cornejo, L.G. 1993. Apicultura práctica en América Latina. FAO Agricultural Ser-
vices Bulletin No. 105. FAO, Rome, Italy. (In Spanish).
DFID. 2000. Bees for wealth and health: Wambui finds out. Ministry of Agriculture
and Rural Development. Nairobi, Kenya.

Matsuka, M., Verma, L.R., Wongsiri, S., Shrestha, K.K. & Partap, U. 2000. Asian
bees and beekeeping. IBH Publishing Company Ltd. New Delhi, India and Oxford,
Ministry of Agriculture. 1991. Beekeeping handbook. Ministry of Agriculture.
Gaborone, Botswana.
Sakho, K. 1999. Sustainability in Senegal: the Vautier hive. Beekeeping & Develop-
ment 51: 3–5.

■ Videos
Agriculture man ecology. 1995. Bees, beekeeping and ecological agriculture. 23
minutes. PAL/VHS.
Clauss, B. 1995. African honeybees: how to handle them in top-bar hives. 22 min-
utes. PAL/VHS.
Keystone Foundation. 2000. Honey hunters of the Blue Mountains. 30 minutes.
Wendorf, H. 1999. Beekeeping in development. 81 minutes. PAL/VHS.

■ Promoting beekeeping as a source of livelihoods
Bradbear, N. 2001. Honey market eco-protectionism? Beekeeping & Development
59: 1.
Bradbear, N., Fisher, E. & Jackson, H. 2002. Sustainable strengthening livelihoods:
exploring the role of beekeeping in development. Bees for Development. Troy, UK.
ISBN 1 898807 01 9.
Kevan, P. 1996. The Asiatic hive bee: apiculture, biology and role in sustainable de-
velopment in tropical and subtropical Asia. Enviroquest Ltd. Ontario, Canada.

■ Video
Wendorf, H. 1999. Beekeeping in development. 81 minutes. PAL/VHS.

■ Case studies
Disabled beekeepers – agro-industries development
Craft Aid. 2001 Small enterprise development. (Available at and
Duggan, M.R. & Draper, P. 2001. Craft Aid in Rodrigues: Bees and Disabled People.
Beekeeping & Development 58: 6–7.

Organizations for beekeepers

■ Apimondia
Apimondia is the World Federation of Beekeepers’Associations. The Apimon-
dia congress, organized every two years, is the major international event for
everyone involved with any aspect of beekeeping. Apimondia publishes a
quarter journal, Apiacta, that contains bee research for beekeepers. Apimondia
can assist with information on any aspect of apiculture. Further information
Corso Vittorio Emanuele II, 101
00186 Roma
Fax: +39 06685 2287

■ Asian Apiculture Association (AAA)
The AAA organizes a conference in Asia every second year, and alternates
with the Apimondia congress. The AAA operates a network of Asian beekeep-
ers. Further information from:
Asian Apiculture Association
Honeybee Science Research Centre
Tamagawa University
Tokyo 194 8610
Fax: +81 427 398 854

■ Bees for Development (BfD)
Bees for Development is an NGO based in the United Kingdom that assists
beekeepers in developing countries. BfD organizes training, provides informa-
tion and publishes the international journal Beekeeping & Development. Fur-
ther information from:
Bees for Development

Monmouth NP25 4AB
United Kingdom
Fax: +44 (0)16007 16167

■ Ilustrations
All images © Nicola Bradbear.