23-04-2019 | di COOPI
Sierra Leone: cashew growers are mastering beekeeping
In Sierra Leone, blending cashew tree farming and beekeeping can create additional sources of income for small farmers in the northern provinces who, if duly trained, can achieve astonishing results.
To strengthen their know-how in beekeeping practices, six cashew growers participated in the exchange visit to Paynesville, Liberia, which took place last month, as part of the "Fostering Smallholder Agriculture in Sierra Leone", ProAct 2015 project, funded by the European Union.
During the visit, farmers were welcomed by the Universal Outreach Foundation (UOF), specialised in market-oriented training and business mentoring programmes, and by the business management team of Liberia Pure Honey (LPH).
The six growers were properly trained on hive care, honey harvesting and extraction processes and bee wax cream preparation, while the LPH staff described the milestones of honey production and showed them around their processing plants.
Preparation of bee wax cream
The training proved a huge success for everyone. As Giacomo Mencari, COOPI Head of Mission in Sierra Leone points out: "Farmers grew their confidence and skills on keeping bees, on how to create hives and proper handle honey for high quality products and the results exceeded expectation. The beneficiaries are now more motivated than ever to rely on the beekeeping sector – we are indeed expecting a knock-on effect on the increase of beekeeping activities in the areas where we operate with our cashews project.”
Honey extractor of Liberia Pure Honey
For the women participating, it was very inspirational and motivating to find out that the leading trainer of the Apiculture Centre was a woman – the visit had a positive impact on women, who have always been among our main beneficiaries in Sierra Leone and who we are still supporting to give them access to land.
Manager of the supermarket, explaining participants the importance of quality products
The "Fostering Smallholder Agriculture in Sierra Leone" project takes up the ProAct 2015 initiative, which includes beekeeping management and honey harvesting training, as crucial activities in cashew pollination and additional sources of income for small farmers in the country.