By Boris Ngounou, Afrik 21
In the provinces of Ogooué-Ivindo and Ngounié, located respectively in the north-east and south of Gabon, local communities are being introduced to the practice of beekeeping. Funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented by Conservation Justice, the Reinforcement of Wildlife Law Enforcement (RALFF) programme aims to reduce the footprint of local communities on the forest and wildlife.
Rural communities in Ogooué-Ivindo and Ngounié, two provinces in the north-east and south of Gabon respectively, now have an effective alternative to poaching and illegal logging. After being inventoried, these communities were trained in honey cultivation (beekeeping). The team of experts composed of members of Conservation Justice, Muyissi Environnement, Blessing Of The Forest and Apiculture Service Gabon then supervised the installation of beehives for the benefit of these communities.
These activities are being carried out under the Reinforcement of Wildlife Law Enforcement (RALFF) programme. A project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented since 2014 by the nature protection organisation, Conservation Justice. The RALFF programme aims to support the government in implementing alternatives to wildlife trafficking and illegal logging.
The Ecological Contribution of Beekeeping
By flitting from flower to flower in search of nectar, bees catalyse the pollination of tree species, thus contributing to the regeneration and development of forests. They also constitute an economic attraction through the production of honey and the development of apitourism as a secondary tourist activity. In addition, trials are underway to use bees as a barrier against elephant intrusion in village plantations.
According to data provided by Conservation Justice, global honey production in 2019 was 1.8 million tonnes, and demand continues to grow. The installation of beehives in the provinces of Ogooué-Ivindo and Ngounié should enable the production of a high-quality honey that is in high demand on the local and international markets. The income generated by the sale of honey and other beehive products (raw or processed: candle wax, cosmetics and propolis) will enable communities to meet some of their needs and to develop related activities essential to community development.