donderdag 29 juli 2010

Organic beekeeping in Kaoma

In Kaoma we would meet at the bank. Clearly there was only one bank in Kaoma, so it was easy to find. I met Jonathan Mugandi and Justin Lunda and together we had a meeting at the Maranatha Grassroot Institute (MGI), a local NGO that helps to implement the bee keeping programme. The Beekeeping project is funded by the EU thru HIVOS, OPPAZ and MGI. It supports 500 families in rural villages (closest 50 km from Kaoma, which is also not a really big rural town) with 2000 bee hives. They work with modern bee hives, which are better for the environment that the tradional one, that was build on cut trees. And in the modern beehives, you do have a more consistent, better quality honey as well and it makes harvesting easier, so that more women are involved in the project, than would be possible with tradional beekeeping.

The families would get 4 beehives, protective cloth, processing equipment and capacity building to make it happen. The beehives are not given to them. They have given a revolving loan and pay back after there first harvest. They pay back in 4 seasons, to create already income from the first harvest.

The beekeepers want to promote organic honey and get international certificates. In July they will start with the OPPAZ Internal Control System, that will shorten the certification process, because records will be electronically and not on paper. This makes exchange between internal and external inspectors easier and shorten the time required for certification.

The beekeepers already started with the forms, that will be used for electronical entry on a quarterly base. This gives them more work, but helps them with proper record keeping. They have one laptop and one desktop, with internet access thru ZAIN GPRS modem. They have trained themselves, but will receive more training thru OPPAZ later. They are looking forward to this.

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