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Bee Farmers Drilled In New Skills 

By Francis Tim Mbom — Bee farmers within the Bakossi Landscape area are now fully equipped with the knowledge of producing better quality honey and its by products.
The knowledge was gained at a recent training held in Tombel, organised and sponsored by the World Wide Fund for Nature (Coastal Forest Programme, CFP), headquartered in Limbe, Fako Division.

Given that the practice of bee farming within this area has been more or less rudimentary in nature, the WWF-CFP office aimed at arming the farmers with modern and scientific methods of farming that can guarantee better quality and high yields.

This, the trainers said, will mean more honey and more money to the farmers in future.
On behalf of WWF were the Field Assistant Officer, Yvette Mboneng and Colette Endale who opened the training and urged participants to give their maximum attention. The Bakossi Landscape area is a forest reserve with a wide variety of rich plant and animal species.

WWF has been involved here in helping to conserve these rich varieties by empowering the inhabitants through some lucrative livelihood activities like pig, snail, bee farming and so on that can help reduce the pressure exerted on this forest by the locals. Given that bees harvest nectar from flowers to produce honey, the Bakossi Landscape Forest area is really a suitable place for bee farming because of the availability of nectar.

One of the main facilitators, Thomas Atabe, who is a former Mayor of the Tombel Municipality, and a bee farmer, told participants that “honey comes from the nectarines of flowers,”
Honey, he added, is made up “80 percent sugar and 20 percent water.” But he stated that the sugar in honey was not of the same nature as refined sugar from the provision stores. “The sugar in honey is very rich in nutrients,” he said.

The fact that honey is got from the nectars of flowers of different plants invariably entails that the more the forest is conserved, the more there will be flowers to produce more nectar for the honey bees to continuously give the people the honey they need for their livelihoods.

The training went through both theoretical and practical phases. The 20 participants were drilled on how best to produce and lay bee hives; how to extract bee wax from honey and how candles are made from the wax. This was also a means of enabling the farmers to be able to maximise the gains they will henceforth make from their farming.

“When you produce your honey bee wax, make sure you weigh it because it is the weight that determines the price of the wax,” participants were told. Participants were also taught how to preserve honey so that it can last for a longer period while still maintaining its quality. The participants expressed immense gratitude to the WWF authorities and the facilitators and promised to put the knowledge gained to proper use.

The facilitators were bee farmers from some well established CIGS within the Bakossi Landscape that have been working with the WWF in this area and have distinguished themselves in the trade. They were practically passing across the knowledge they have gained so that other farmers can conveniently improve the quality of their farming. Among them were Pa Atabe of the Tombel Bee Framers’ Association, Ngole Hans Ebong from Muanked and Akame Mesumbe from the Muanyang Farmers CIG from Nyasoso.

First published in The Post print edition no 01403 

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