Climate change is decreasing bee population worldwide. Beekeepers in Chiapas suffered from severe droughts during this year's honey season resulting in lower incomes for poor indigenous families. To reduce this shortfall, we will help a cooperative of 40 indigenous beekeepers migrate 200 beehives from Chenalho to Villaflores. By placing the beehives in mango orchards that bloom in December, beekeepers will obtain a second honey harvest and mango producers will benefit from increased pollination.
Small beekeepers' livelihood is inextricably linked to climate. Like most smallholders, they are the ones who are affected the most by climate change yet are the least able to cope. The cooperative is faced with the challenge of producing enough honey to make ends meet in adverse weather conditions. By partnering with farmers in other regions with different kinds of flora, our beekeepers will engage in innovative production techniques and have access to a second honey season.
We have established collaborative relationships with 4 mango orchards willing to welcome the beehives, who understand the benefits they could receive from pollination and the importance of beekeeping. We are migrating the beehives in mid-October. We plan to collect data about mango yields before and after the beehives arrive to prove pollination is a win-win situation for both ends and convince more honey producers and farmers to engage in transhumance (moving beehives).
Chiapas is the poorest state in Mexico and home to 1.3 million indigenous people. That is why, transhumance, a common practice among seasoned honey producers, hasn't been adopted. Honey producers in Chiapas rely on only one harvest per year and are subject to inclement weather conditions. By carrying out this trial, we will encourage thousands of other honey producers and farmers to collaborate to adapt to climate change, while improving their production and income using sustainable practices.