The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR-FORIG) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 13 bee-farmer co-operatives in the Ashanti Region to train its members in bee farming business to improve their economic welfare and livelihoods.
As part of the three-year MoU, the CSIR-FORIG would provide technical and financial support to set up the members for the production of honey, for free, within the period.
And, to avoid facing marketing and financing hurdles, CSIR-FORIG would harvest the honey and ensure ready market by buying them and other bee-related products, such as beeswax, from them.
With about 100 memberships, the bee-farmer co-operatives were selected from communities, including Kubease, Duapompo, Nobewam, Wuraponso, Juaben Krofofrom, Tetekaaso, Apaaso, Ohene-Akura and Nkwankwanua.
At a training programme at Bobiri Forest at Kubease, Dr (Mrs) Gloria Djaney Djagbletey, Head, Forest and Climate Change Division of CSIR-FORIG, said after the three years, any member of the co-operative who would like to be on his/her own could do so, but would have to purchase their equipment.
She said it was the mandate of the CSIR-FORIG to widen the dissemination of bee farming technologies to the rural communities to lift citizens from poverty, “and we are poised to ensure that.”
Hopeful that the highest production of honey in the country would come from the 13 communities, Dr Djagbletey indicated that bee farming was a wonderful opportunity to get an additional source of income and urged women in particular, to take advantage of the opportunity.
Mr Elvis Nkrumah, a Principal Technical Officer, CSIR-FORIG, who took the participants through the practical training, touched on the importance of bee keeping not only for the production of honey, but also for beeswax, propolis, pollen (bee bread) royal jelly, adding secondary products such as creams, candles and polish.
He called on bee farmers to focus much attention on the production of beeswax and not only on honey, the fact that “beeswax has greater demand for the manufacturing of wax prints in the world.”
According to Mr Nkrumah, a company from Japan had contacted CSIR-FORIG for beeswax, but “we do not have enough of bee farmers in the country and this is the time to create awareness.”
He said even in Ghana the textile companies had to import the beeswax to augment their work and reiterated his call on the youth, in particular, to go into bee farming.
FROM KINGSLEY E. HOPE, KUMASI