Bees are amazing! They can help to improve lives in more ways than one. In Ghana many cashew farmers live in extreme poverty . Bees can change this - twice over! They give farmers honey to sell AND they improve cashew nut yields through improved pollination. Research has shown that bees can double cashew yields. This project will help some of the poorest farmers in Ghana to learn beekeeping and secure a better future for themselves and their families - with the help of the honey bee.
Small-scale farmers in Ghana work hard but many suffer from extreme poverty - this undermines children's wellbeing and education. In the Brong Ahafo Region of Ghana, farmers produce cashew nuts as a cash crop, but yields are often lower than expected because of poor pollination of the cashew flowers. Another problem faced by poor families is the danger of being over-reliant on one crop. Diversification is key to reducing their vulnerability - when faced with uncertain markets and climate change.
This project will train and equip new beekeepers in Ghana from amongst the poorest families - this will reduce poverty and improve lives in two ways. Through good pollination of the flowers, cashew nut yields - and therefore cashew income - can double. Cashew trees flower for many months and without bees, pollination rates can be poor. Farmers can sell honey and beeswax too, adding to the range of viable farm activities, while helping to maintain bees and biodiversity. It's a win-win situation.
The potential long term impact of this project is greatly increased family income for 50 farming families and a more diverse farming system. Research has shown that keeping bees can increase total farm income from US$176 to US$566 a year. In such a poor area this is a big difference. Higher family income can pay for children's education - school fees and school books, plus basic household expenses like medicines and seeds. This kind of support is vital in giving young people a chance in life.