Beekeeping is a widely spread practice that fits well in the sustainable livelihoods approach. However, it has been wrongly perceived as just a hobby for a long time now. The primary reason for this is that beekeeping does not fit easily into the sectoral divides of rural development. As an activity, apiculture spans forestry, horticulture, agriculture, the natural environment, animal husbandry, and entomology without fitting completely into one of these sectors.
Additionally, beekeepers are categorized differently in different regions. In some places, they are categorized as farmers or hunters whilst in other places as gatherers, cattle-keepers, or even rural dwellers. Due to so much ambiguity about this profession, the major benefits of beekeeping get overlooked.
Utilizing Apiculture to Sustain Lives & Protect the Ecosystem
Our busy bees play a major role in poverty alleviation and creating self-employment opportunities for the rural community. Additionally, they are exceptionally important in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Let us discuss how apiculture is developing sustainable livelihoods.
1. Alleviating Poverty through Beekeeping
Poverty is not just the unavailability of incomes but also the lack of ways to satisfy basic social needs, Farmers in rural communities continually struggle with the seasonal crops and find it difficult to survive themselves and their families by just farming the whole year. Beekeeping not only generates extra income but also uses and creates important assets like bees, special beekeeping skills, knowledge about the practice, necessary tools and equipment and helps in setting up a network to conduct a business that keeps them from drowning in poverty.
Apiculture promotes self-employment as beekeepers develop special skills and acquire knowledge through this practice. Beekeepers can own their business by using their honey for sale in bulk along with bee by-products like beeswax. Alongside, through beekeeping and the support of the community, one can generate further assets by using honey and beeswax to make secondary products, such as candles, beauty creams, or beer. Beekeeping can also generate other products like pollen, propolis and royal jelly, that can be marketed and made into secondary products
Thus, apiculture strengthens the livelihoods of rural families by helping them become less vulnerable to poverty. It not only provides these families with income and required goods but also gives a sense of well-being and contentment.
2. Maintaining Bee Population for a Healthy Ecosystem
According to research by Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, at least 30% of the world’s crops and 90% of all plants need cross-pollination to spread and thrive. Through apiculture, sustainable beekeeping practices, and planting bee-friendly gardens, we can ensure that bees continue to play their critical role in our ecosystem. Following are the 4 primary reasons bees are important for our ecosystem.
Germinating plants like apples, melons, cranberries, asparagus, or broccoli needs the transfer of pollen from the male part of the flower (the anther) to the female part (the stigma). As bees move from flower to flower looking for nectar, they leave behind grains of pollen on the sticky surface, that lets plants grow and produce food. Pollinators like bees are said to play a significant role in one out of every three bites of food we eat. Without bees, many plants we rely on for food would die.
- Wild Plant Growth
Apart from farm-grown fruits and vegetables, countless species of wild plants rely on insect pollinators to thrive. Bees are responsible for the production of numerous seeds, nuts, berries, and fruits, which are an essential food source for wild animals. Additionally, there are numerous species of bees in the wild that are losing their habitat but play a vital role in crop pollination.
- Food Source
Bees produce honey to feed their colonies during the cold winter months whilst humans have harvested honey for thousands of years. Bees are also an important part of the food chain. Over 24 species of birds, including the blackbird and the starling, as well as various species of spiders and insects feed on bees.
As part of the pollinator group, bees contribute to our complex and interconnected ecosystem that help different species in co-existing. They boost the growth of trees, flowers, and plants, which at the same time serve as food and shelter for many creatures.
Encouraging Apiculture for Sustainable Lives and a Thriving Ecosystem
By now it is clear that without bees, our gardens would be bare and our plates empty. Beekeeping can keep vulnerable families out of poverty while giving back to the environment.
At BeeHively Group we propagate sustainable beekeeping which focuses on bee conservation strategies. Also, BeeHively Group supports and works towards the guidelines laid down by the UN for ensuring sustainable development in The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). BeeHively Group strives to support UNSDG’s to alleviate poverty, zero hunger and sustainable cities and communities. The group is a wholesale organic honey exporter, that specializes in 100% pure honey and offers honey for sale in bulk.