Saturday, September 5, 2009

Honey Business Employs over 20.000 farmers in Cameroon

A recent SNV report has stated that honey supply in Cameroon comes from a range of geographical areas in Cameroon covering Oku-the last remaining montane forest, the high plateaux of the West and Northwest, the Sub-Savannah Plains of Adamawa, agricultural areas around mount Cameroon and sites on the edge of the city of Yaoundé surrounded by dense tropical forest.

Presenting the report in Bamenda recently in a seminar regrouping bee-farmers drawn from all over the Northwest Region, the resource persons who laid more emphasis on white honey disclosed that honey business currently employs approximately some 20.000 farmers in Cameroon.

In the Northwest Region, the bee farmers were told that the Netherlands development organization (SNV) intervention in the honey value chain so far has been towards improving the commercialization of honey and by-products from Kilum / Ijim Montane forest in view of increasing the income of the bee farmers and bolstering the employment potentials of the apiculture sub-sector.

On the out-come of the study SNV carried in 2008, the seminar participants were informed that white honey is a unique honey type produced in the Kilum / Ijim area. According to the SNV researchers, white honey, is more predominant in the Kilum side of the forest where averagely bee farmers produced 120 liters of crude honey per year. In addition to honey, bee keepers produce and supply other honey items including bee wax, propolis, soap, candles, creams, honey drinks among others.

Bee-farming according to the resource persons, is a reliable source of income for many producers who are engaged in the activity. “Generally, income from bee-keeping activities contribute from 10% to 70% of total annual income for some farmers. The average contribution is 30% but more than 80% to 60% of their annual income is from bee-keeping”.

They observed that the core constraints of bee-farming include, hive construction difficulties, lack of storage and processing equipment, bush fires, pests, access to community forests and a general need to gain skills in the production of other by-products and derivatives.

In the recommendations that followed, the bee-farmers resolved to stop selling no-name bulk honey to the wholesalers, established payment plans whereby processors are paid up front by wholesalers for both honey and its transport, reduce production costs, and increase membership of bee farmers’ organizations.

SNV is dedicated to a Society where all people enjoy the freedom to pursue their own sustainable development. It contributes to this by strengthening the capacity of local organizations. It deliberately focuses on local organizations as these play a key role in reducing poverty in a sustainable manner and improving the lives of the poor.

From our economic desk

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