Learning from other stingless beekeepers
The past 3 months have been filled with all the normal project activity in Maijuna lands that we know and love: running community-level stingless beekeeping workshops, working on the family-level to increase the number of hives and improve hive management practices, recruiting new families into the project, and the list goes on. However, one thing that was quite out of the ordinary and even more exciting than normal was a 3-day trip that we organized for Maijuna beekeepers to the city of Iquitos, Peru to meet other stingless beekeepers and exchange experiences. Really, this was a trip to open their eyes and to think big.
It’s one thing to tell the Maijuna what this stingless beekeeping project can mean for their community and families and it’s another thing entirely to directly show them. On the way to Iquitos we stopped by the apiary of a well-established stingless beekeeper named Carlos M. who has over 50 hives, earning him more sustainable income from beekeeping than the Maijuna have ever imagined. For the 15 Maijuna beekeepers present, this was a chance for them to see with their own eyes what a well-managed and highly productive apiary looks like and to ask question after question of someone that started from scratch like they did.
The following day in Iquitos, there was a daylong meeting that pulled together stingless beekeepers from around the area to share experiences and lessons learned. The Maijuna gave a presentation about their community-based stingless beekeeping project as did others, ultimately opening a space for dialogue and exchange. This was followed by visits to 5 other apiaries of successful stingless beekeepers in the area that again allowed the Maijuna to learn directly from others. Opening hives, discussing management practices, learning by doing – there is no better way for the Maijuna stingless beekeepers to learn.
Heading back to Maijuna lands from Iquitos there truly was a palpable sense of excitement and buzz on the boat. With our goal of opening their eyes and getting them to think big about the future of the project achieved, we are more committed than ever to the long-term success of this project. Thanks so much for your continued support – your generosity has helped to make this exciting project possible!
Successful and highly productive apiary
Opening hives and learning by doing