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Bees for Development is an international charity[1][2] specialising in work to alleviate poverty through beekeeping.[3] Beekeeping contributes to supporting sustainable livelihoods[4] in poor and remote communities and honey bees provide an essential ecosystem service.[5] Bees for Development currently runs projects in Uganda, Zanzibar, Ethiopia and Kyrgyzstan. Its offices are in Monmouth, South Wales.[6]

Bees for Development
Bees for Development logo.png
Founded1993 (1993)
TypeNon-governmental organization
Coordinates51°48′42″N 2°42′56″W / 51.8118°N 2.71542°W / 51.8118; -2.71542Coordinates: 51°48′42″N 2°42′56″W / 51.8118°N 2.71542°W / 51.8118; -2.71542
Area served
Africa, Asia and The Caribbean
  • Honey
  • Wax


History and philosophyEdit

Founded in 1993, Bees for Development works in partnership with beekeepers and international organisations, such as Apimondia, Keystone Foundation,[7] and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The charity aims to support beekeeping in order to help poor and remote communities and to protect biodiversity.[8] It focuses on the use of appropriate technology and values, and respects local skills. It believes that self-reliance and empowerment of the poor can be enhanced through access to knowledge and information, and through trade in bee products.[3] It also advocates less intervention with bee production, and the value of using hives that are free of internal frames.[6]

The Bees for Development Trust was set up in 1999. It is governed by a Board of Trustees and supported by patrons, including Monty Don,[9] Bill Turnbull,[9] and Sting.[10]


Bark hives in Mozambique are widely and successfully used by beekeepers to produce honey and beeswax

The charity publishes the Bees for Development Journal[11] which focuses on appropriate beekeeping technologies, sharing lessons learnt in different countries, and includes up to date information about beekeeping worldwide.

The Uganda Honey Trade Project works with local beekeepers associations, including ApiTrade Africa,[12] helping raise incomes through strengthening honey trade. In Zanzibar Bees for Development is implementing a partnership project with a Danish NGO, DANTAN, focusing on boosting the honey industry on Unguja, the main island of Zanzibar, and on the island of Pemba. In Kyrgyzstan, funding from the Darwin Initiative, who encourage biodiversity in poor countries,[13] has been secured. Bees for Development also disseminates training resources worldwide,[14] manages an on-line library[15] of beekeeping information and organises beekeeping safaris[16]

The charity is also assisting an area resident with her attempts to preserve a Monmouthshire farm. The resident had established a hive at her farm three years ago after taking a beekeeping course. In the summer of 2011, the colony was thriving. However, the following mild winter led to increased bee activity and ultimately the death of the colony, as determined by Nicola Bradbear of Bees for Development.[6] The charity recommends a somewhat hands-off approach to beekeeping, suggesting top-bar hives that approximate a wild bee nest, in lieu of more traditional frame hives. The organisation is assisting the farmer with establishing an apiary that has both types of hives. Visitors to the farm will learn about two different approaches to beekeeping. In addition, plants beneficial to both hive and wild bees, including borage and phacelia, are being planted.[6]

Recent achievementsEdit

2006–2009 Research in bees, biodiversity, and forest livelihoods in IndiaEdit

Mbawemi Women's group making beeswax candles in Malawi

The research project of bees, biodiversity and forest livelihoods in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve began on 1 June 2006. This-three year project was funded under the UK Government-funded Darwin Initiative[17] to study the interdependencies between bees, biodiversity, and forest livelihoods in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve of the Western Ghats, India. The project was implemented locally by the Keystone Foundation,[18] working in partnership with local indigenous communities and Forest Department staff, and three UK-based partners: Professor Janet Seeley,[19] The School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia; Dr. Nicola Bradbear,[20] Bees for Development; and Professor Simon Potts,[21] The Centre for Agri-Environmental Research, University of Reading.

2006–2008 Strengthening trade in honey and other bee products in UgandaEdit

The aim of this pilot project (2006–2008) was to increase trade in honey, bringing more income to poor, rural beekeepers. The Project was funded by the UK-based donor, Comic Relief, and implemented by the Uganda Export Promotion Board (UEPB), The Uganda National Apiculture Development Organisation (TUNADO), and Bees for Development. Beekeeping is practised widely in Uganda. The local market for table honey is significant, and demand in urban areas outstrips supply. Trade opportunities for other bee products are also growing. However, inefficiencies in the supply chain and the low capacity of producers to understand and negotiate markets, means that this activity is not achieving its full potential in bringing income benefits to the poor.[22]


  1. ^ American Bee Journal. October 2011. Pages 981–985.
  2. ^ Bees for Development – supporting sustainable livelihoods. Bee Craft. March 2011. Pages 14–15.
  3. ^ a b "Radio 4 Appeal: Bees for Development". BBC. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  4. ^ Ian Scoones (1998). Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: A Framework for Analysis. Institute of Development Studies. p. 22. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  5. ^ Costanza, Robert; et al. (15 May 1997). "The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital" (PDF). Nature. 387 (6630): 253–260. doi:10.1038/387253a0. Archived from the original (PDF) on 25 June 2012. Retrieved 17 April 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d Kate Humble (28 April 2012). "Kate's farm: The queen bee is dead". The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  7. ^ "Our Partners". Keystone. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  8. ^ "Why support beekeeping?". Bees for Development. Archived from the original on 2 June 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  9. ^ a b Greenways Business Services. "Accounts" (PDF). Charity Commission. Retrieved 22 May 2012.[permanent dead link]
  10. ^ "New Patron for Bees for Development Trust". FarmingUK. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  11. ^ "Scientific Commission Beekeeping for Rural Development". Apimondia, International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  12. ^ "Associations-Bee specific". ApiTrade Africa. Archived from the original on 6 June 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  13. ^ "About the Darwin Initiative". Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  14. ^ "Insects on a farm: Friends or foes? Our love/hate relationship with insects. In Farming Matters". ileia Centre for learning on sustainable agriculture. March 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  15. ^ "Information Portal". Bees for Development. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  16. ^ "Beekeeping Safaris". Bees for Development. Archived from the original on 8 May 2012. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  17. ^ "The Darwin Initiative". Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  18. ^ "Overview". Keystone – A Group for Eco Development Initiatives. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  19. ^ "Prof Janet Seeley". University of East Anglia. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  20. ^ "Executive Council". Apimondia – International Federation of Beekeepers' Association. Retrieved 3 May 2012.
  21. ^ "Prof. S. Potts". Centre for Agri-Environmental Research. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  22. ^ Uganda Export Promotion Board and International Trade Centre Counterpart Team. 2005. Uganda Apiculture Export Strategy Archived 2014-02-03 at the Wayback Machine. 2005, accessed May 2012

External linksEdit