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Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping

by Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping
Empower Coffee Farming Families through Beekeeping

Pueblo a Pueblo staff has already held a third beekeeping training for coffee farmers from the village of Totolya.  Just two weeks prior, the group installed its apiary on a parcel of land 45-minutes walking distance from the community. Already their hives are thriving, and the group is learning to care for its new apiary.

Participants learned not only routine beekeeping responsibilities, including maintenance of the area surrounding the hives and internal panels, but also how to feed the bees during the rainy season.

For example, it’s important to keep the area around the hives clear so that others insects can’t enter; to ensure that the hives are not exposed to too much wind or sun; and to learn important indicators of hive health.  

Two women from the original group in Pampojilá led the training, along with Genaro Similaj, Pueblo a Pueblo’s senior technician. Trainings include both theoretical background and information, as well as an opportunity for practical application of new skills through maintenance of their own hives.

Throughout this workshop and others, there is always a strong spirit of collaboration and teamwork. All of the participants – and especially the Totolya group – were energetic and excited to be there. We love working with such a dedicated and positive team!

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Members of the group pose with jars of honey
Members of the group pose with jars of honey

The new year is off to a great start for the members of Aj Tikonel Kab’! Last month they finished bottling and packaging 120 jars of honey with their own label, and in the few weeks since they’ve sold over half of their stock to new customers in Guatemala.

With a portion of the income generated from sales, the group plans to cover the costs of future hive maintenance and product packaging, as well as expand the apiary to increase honey production for the coming harvest in April and May.

The remaining income will be divided among members, many of whom have lost over half of their annual coffee harvest income to Roya, the coffee fungus currently devastating the Guatemalan highlands. This, along with a drop in international coffee prices, has dealt a significant blow to the livelihoods of these farmers. What they make from honey sales will provide a much-needed new source of income for their families.

Meanwhile, we’re hoping to incorporate 10 additional coffee farmers into the beekeeping project cooperative.

This new group approached us earlier this year to express interest in beekeeping so that they too can become more resistent to the coffee rust epidemic. Like our current beekeepers, half of the new group members are women, and all of them are very excited about the opportunity to embark on this project.

We hope to begin training new members in late March. Our current members will guide the new beekeepers by providing mentorship and technical support, and when the time comes both groups will work together to sell the honey they produce under the Aj Tikonel Kab’ label.

However, we still need your support to help these small-scale farmers build sustainable alternative sources of income. It's not just about supporting local communities. When you donate, you also become an important part of a farmer's story. 

Board members and beekeepers celebrate the harvest
Board members and beekeepers celebrate the harvest
Jars of honey for sale
Jars of honey for sale
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As the first year of our Sustainable Livelihoods Project comes to an end, our beekeepers in Pampojila are reaping the benefits of their hard work and your support.

This past Friday, the beekeepers hiked up to their apiaries on the slopes of Volcano Atitlan to remove honey-filled panels from the hives. Working through the rest of the weekend, they extracted and processed the honey, replacing the panels in the hives once they were finished.

Earlier in November, Pueblo a Pueblo held a marketing training with the beekeepers to help them understand the marketing process and identify potential customers for their product. Now, over the rest of this month, the group will focus on packaging the honey and preparing it for sale under the name Aj Tikonel Kab, which means "Harvester of Honey” in Maya Kaqchikel. Then, starting in January, they’ll begin reaching out to customers and making their first sales, thus generating additional income for themselves, their families, and their communities.

Finally, the beekeepers recently held a meeting to review their progress over the past year. They discussed achievements and challenges, the strengths of the group, and how they can improve in the coming year. According to Genaro, our project technician, “although it has been challenging for them to take on this new endeavor, they’re confident in what they’ve learned and grateful that they’ve been able to take advantage of this opportunity.”

We’re all looking forward to what the New Year brings! Thank you for your continued support. 

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Organization Information

Pueblo a Pueblo, Inc.

Location: Neenah, WI - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @Pueblo_a_Pueblo
Project Leader:

Boston, MA United States
$4,850 raised of $7,000 goal
 
122 donations
$2,150 to go
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