Beekeepers in Huehuetenango checking their hives
This year’s honey harvest is finally in, but our beekeeping projects are already preparing for the coming year. And although some groups have finished training, others are continuing to build their skills.
The three beekeeping groups that make up the Aj Tikonel Kab beekeepers association have officially graduated from Pueblo a Pueblo project trainings and are now operating on their own. They have the training and knowledge to properly monitor their hives and continue to sell and market their product. Now, Pueblo a Pueblo’s role is to provide technical support when needed.
Having collected their harvest and processed their honey, the Aj Tikonel Kab beekeepers are in the process of marketing their products. They have been exploring new markets around the lake to sell their honey in local stores, hotels, and in specialty fairs for artisanal and organic products. Most recently, they participated in a national event for small honey producers in Solola, the state departmental capital.
Meanwhile, the year-old group of 10 women beekeepers in La Libertad, Huehuetenango have continued with trainings and have collected their first harvest. But, because of the cold temperatures in the highlands this past winter, there was a shortage of worker bees to gather the honey, leaving the hives weakened. Also, the beekeepers had just begun their trainings and were not yet equipped with the knowledge to effectively evaluate hive health. So this year, the hives did not produce enough honey to sell, and the women are sharing the 40-lb harvest among their families.
Since the cold season, however, the women of La Libertad have completed several more trainings. They now have the skills and knowledge to monitor their hives. For example, they know what to look for when checking hive health, and they can diagnose any problems that arise to either fix the problem themselves or ask Pueblo a Pueblo for technical advice.
The most recent training in Huehuetenango was conducted in April, when the women learned how to harvest and process the honey. They also learned how to divide hives to effectively grow their apiary.
Pueblo a Pueblo’s beekeeping expert, Genaro, made a return visit to Huehuetenango in May to check on the hives and to meet with the beekeepers. He also ensured that the hives were doing well after dividing them in April, and he worked with the women to prepare the hives for the upcoming rainy season.
Now that the rainy season has begun, they will not be collecting their next harvest until the fall. In the meantime, the hives are strong and the beekeepers will continue to learn more skills!
Aj Tikonel Kab beekeepers selling honey at markets
Genaro training beekeepers in Huehuetenango
Beekeepers thanking a Mayan God for their harvest