On the heels of a recent international award given to a Liberian honey producer in England, the Association of Bee Keepers in Liberia (ABEL) is not shrinking from getting its members to be equipped by sharing knowledge associated with their occupation.
In compliance with the goal of equipping beekeepers with knowledge, ABEL is designing a training program to begin shortly in Nimba County, where hundreds of them are to converge.
The organization has scheduled the training program in Ganta for November 11 thru 18 with the goal of bringing growth to the industry by enhancing skills of beekeepers through advanced beekeeping techniques.
The planned training is also expected to feature Liberia Pure Honey, the prize recipient from the 2018 National Honey Show in England.
“This training is designed for Liberia’s most aspiring beekeepers as they come together to ensure the honey industry grows by enhancing their skills through advanced beekeeping techniques,” Aaron Williams, ABEL Chairman said. “ABEL strives to ensure that Liberian beekeepers produce the highest quality product, and the award Liberia Pure Honey received demonstrates that we are achieving our goals.”
Williams, who expressed an ambitious view about his occupation, said “we believe that Liberia can be the honey capital of West Africa to provide a much needed boost to our economy.”
He stressed the need for economic impact of beekeeping and honey production that is proving to be an excellent income source for people living in rural locations; recalling that over the past six years, professional beekeeping has spread to 12 of Liberia’s 15 counties.
Beekeeping in Liberia is an occupation that attracts few people, though some in the practice seem to be gaining motivation because of the income they are receiving at the end of each sale.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) 2018 report on beekeeping in Nimba County indicates that it began with a few women whose husbands and families could not support them earlier, because of the time and effort it takes to yield the proceed.
Nevertheless, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), supported a training program for a few rural women in Meinpea Mah District, providing some hives (habitats) to start, which has changed the story.
Martha Belleh, a beekeeper in Nimba, is quoted in the UNDP report as stating that they were not supported by their husbands, but as progress is made and the men are seeing the income, now they are supporting their wives to do more.
Saye Junior Tuagbean, is quoted in the report as having said that they sell a gallon of honey for US$20.
Bee populations are declining globally (UNDP, 2018), and harvesting honey has been done in a rudimentary way in Liberia, whereby their hives are damaged by harvesters using weapons and fire, which sometimes destroy the queen bee and most of the ordinary bees.
After harvest, the bees find another habitat where they can produce honey and reproduce.