Beekeeping is accessible to everyone: it doesn’t require ownership of land, capital investment or great time commitment, but it brings benefits of pollination and harvests of nutritious food and medicine. Local bees, local materials and the knowledge of local beekeepers provide all that is needed; skills in understanding bees and forage in the landscape can be learned. Recognising the dependence of bees on abundant and unpolluted landscapes becomes an incentive for beekeepers to protect and conserve their forests and support local farmers towards agroecological practices. Where forests are healthy in tropical Africa, bees are healthy and abundant. Where there is deforestation and agrochemical use, bees and the livelihoods of local communities both suffer.
We will hear from beekeepers world-wide about their guardianship of community forests, about problems caused by deforestation, fire and intensification of agriculture. We’ll also hear about partnerships that yield benefits for beekeepers, farmers, honey traders and local communities, bringing increased crop yields, harvests of honey and beeswax, food and medicine for the community and access to markets in towns and cities. Beekeepers hold a direct, recognisable and measurable interest in the biodiversity of their lands: in freedom from agrochemicals and pollution and in the health of their forests.