Honey has been produced on Idjwi island for many years. It is a basic element in the health and nutrition of the community. I tasted it myself last year and can say without doubt that it was the best, most flavoursome honey I have ever tasted!
The beehive maker has made more than 50 beehives, and now the challenge is to find the right trees to plant for the bees. Many trees used by the native pygmies on Idjwi for their honey production disappeared when the pygmies were pushed off their forest land. The plants were used not only for the bees, but also to cure snakebite, to heal wounds, to treat diseases. We are now seeking to identify these plants with the help of a Congolese expert recommended to us by the NGO HandUp Congo. By identifying, buying and planting these trees, we will be able to produce better honey, improve the natural environment, and also restore valuable medicinal plants to the local population.
Plans for the future:
· bring the Congolese bee expert to Idjwi for several days in order to train a group of local people in the practice of beekeeping
· purchase 4 acres of land adjacent to the existing beehive area in order to increase the productivity
· construct a protective fence around the entire area
· build a beekeeper hut on the premises
· purchase more beekeeping equipment
Honey produced so far has been given to women and children who are sick.
Contacts have been made to sell the honey in Goma, nearby Rwanda and even in Europe.
1. Employment for locals, including the pygmy population who are involved in this
2. Nutrition and medicine
3. Income – sale in lodges on Idjwi, in Goma, Gisenyi and possibly Germany – contacts already made.
4. Reforestation – Idjwi suffers greatly from deforestation. The project requires planting more trees to create a ‘forest’ for the bees.
Fund Raising managed by Helen Pope in association with the Fondazione Cariello Corbino.