GABON: When beekeeping reduces community pressure on forest and wildlife

The rural communities of Ogooué-Ivindo and Ngounié, two provinces respectively in the north-east and south of Gabon, now have an effective alternative to poaching and illegal logging. After being inventoried, these communities were trained in honey cultivation (beekeeping). The team of experts made up of members of Conservation Justice, Muyissi Environnement, Bénédiction De La Forêt and Apiculture Service Gabon then supervised the installation of beehives for the benefit of these communities.

These activities are carried out under the Strengthening Wildlife Law Enforcement Program (RALFF). A project funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented since 2014 by the conservation organization, Conservation Justice. The RALFF program aims to support the government in implementing alternatives to wildlife trafficking and illegal logging.

The ecological contribution of beekeeping

By fluttering from flower to flower in search of nectar, bees catalyze the pollination of tree species, thus contributing to the regeneration and development of forests. They are also an economic attraction through the production of honey and the development of apitourism as a secondary tourist activity. In addition, trials are underway to use bees as a barrier against the intrusion of elephants into village plantations.

Read also-GABON: Launch of the ForestLAB initiative for forest monitoring

According to data provided by Conservation Justice, global honey production in 2019 was 1.8 million tonnes and demand continues to grow. The installation of beehives in the provinces of Ogooué-Ivindo and Ngounié should enable the production of high-quality honey in high demand on local and international markets. The income generated by the sale of honey and other hive products (raw or processed: candle wax, cosmetics and propolis) will enable communities to meet some of their needs and develop related activities essential to community development.

Boris Ngounou