admin | April 17, 2023
Beekeeping is a vital activity in the forests of the Republic of Congo, providing not only economic opportunities but also ensuring that the forests are protected. There are many benefits of beekeeping. It provides a source of income for locals who sell honey and other bee products. It is also environmentally-friendly, using forests without clear-cutting or burning them. But unfortunately, farmers sometimes think of bees as pests. Farmers’ practices can harm bees, both when they clear their fields with fire and the fires escape the field to harm bees, and when they use pesticides. Alain Mvouity is a beekeeper in Pointe-Noire. He points out that bees are essential to the ecosystem, helping to pollinate more than 80% of flowering plants. He says simply, "Without bees, there is no forest, no food."
Beekeeping is a vital activity in the forests of the Republic of Congo, providing not only economic opportunities for local people but also ensuring the growth and protection of the forests themselves. The Loudima forest in southern Congo is one such example, where beekeeping has become a way of life for many.
There are many benefits of beekeeping. It provides a source of income for the local population, who sell honey and other bee products at local markets. Beekeeping is also environmentally-friendly. It uses the forests without clear-cutting or burning it. Instead, beekeepers place hives in areas where they can collect nectar and pollen from the surrounding vegetation without causing harm.
But unfortunately, conflicts between farmers and beekeepers can create situations that are unfavourable for bees’ survival. Bees are often seen as pests by farmers, and their farming practices often threaten them.
Alberine Nzewang is a beekeeper in Bertoua, Cameroon. She explains, ” During the dry season, some people clear their fields by setting fires. Sometimes the fire crosses and arrives in our sites.”
Farmers also use pesticides and other chemicals that can harm bees.
Beekeepers are trying to reassure farmers that their tiny, winged livestock are not a threat.
Alain Mvouity is a beekeeper in Pointe-Noire. He says, “If the people of Loudima think that we made the bees leave Pointe-Noire to come and kill them, to prevent them from cultivating their fields. This is completely false. It’s a problem of hatred and jealousy.”
Beekeepers point out that bees are essential to the ecosystem, as they help to pollinate more than 80% of flowering plants. Mr. Mvouity says, “Without bees, there is no forest, no food.”
Hubert Yompang is a beekeeper in Bertoua, Cameroon. Mr. Yompang says, “Beekeeping contributes on a very large scale to the protection of the environment…Without them we would not have food, plants would not exist. If the forest does not exist, even oxygen will become scarce.
Additionally, bees produce honey—delicious and nutritious. This makes it good business for beekeepers.
Romantic Ngassedanga is a beekeeper in Bangui, Central African Republic. He says: “Honey is very profitable. We earn through the sale of honey and also the beeswax that is sought after in the market for making candles and other things.”
But, despite the benefits of beekeeping to beekeepers and the environment, it is an underdeveloped sector, particularly in the Congo Basin.
This story is based on a video produced by AgribusinessTV, called “Congo: Beekeeping, an opportunity for the forests of the Congo Basin. To watch the full video, go to: https://agribusinesstv.info/en/congo-beekeeping-an-opportunity-for-the-forests-of-the-congo/