Beekeepers meeting for end-of-the-year celebration
Dry season is here and the honey harvest has begun! In 2015 Pueblo a Pueblo’s Beekeeping project is partnering with coffee farmers from three different communities to create a sustainable economic livelihood. The veteran group is from a small village called Pampojila. They started with us in 2013 as our pilot program and are currently processing honey from their second harvest. Since the start of the season, Pampojila’s farmers have yielded over 120 pounds of honey and expect to double this amount by the end of March.
They are also assisting coffee farmers from the Totolya community, who has already produced 40 pounds of sweet honey in their first harvest season! Both groups are mentoring the newest community to join our producer association. These “newbies,” from the village of Panamaquip, are currently refining their technical skillset and installing their own hives and apiary equipment in anticipation for next season.
Although the groups work as separately in their own communities, they come together as a cooperative association under the name of Aj Tikonel Kab’ to sell their products. They also joined together in December to celebrate the New Year, discuss their advances and challenges, and develop their vision and goals for 2015.
Working together as an association can be difficult because it involves mutual investment in equipment and knowledge sharing but Michelle Sims, Pueblo a Pueblo’s Project Manager, shared the benefits it has for beekeepers. “There’s strength in numbers,” she said. “They’ll be able to work and learn together, produce more together, and eventually sell more honey together.”
All three community participants are glad to be working together and are excited to see the fruits of their labor from a truly cooperative and collaborative project. They now have new skills and improved livelihoods to support their families and their future.
Beekeepers discussing 2015 goals
Training in Panamaquip