Developing a value chain for Oku White Honey to increase quality and quantity of honey, furthering income generation and job creation

Published: 13 November 2017
Last edited: 21 March 2018

CAMGEW uses apiculture to fight bushfires in Kilum-Ijim forest. Bee farmers have been producing honey with no market, due to poor quality and the fact that it is difficult to collect honey produced by individual farmers. CAMGEW decided to organize bee farmers into Oku White Honey Cooperatives to develop quality and quantity of Oku White Honey and its products like bees wax. Through these 5 new cooperatives and existing ones, the quantity and quality of Oku White Honey will be improved to satisfy consumers and meet standards. The honey is certified as Geographical indication product. It will become easy to access and assist bee farmers and market their produce. Oku White Honey is the brand name of honey produced from the Kilum-Ijim forest in Cameroon that covers two Divisions (Bui and Boyo) and 5 Sub-divisions (Oku, Jakiri, Belo, Njinikom and Fundong). The forest covers three tribes (Nso, Oku and Kom). Kilum-Ijim White Honey Association (KIWHA) is the umbrella association for the promotion of Oku White Honey. The bee farmers groups in each village act like family bee farming groups where adults teach the young bee farmers to prepare future bee farmers. Women engage in bee farming with their families to increase family income or as individuals.

Classifications

Category
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Local
Phase of solution
Implementation

Enabling factors

The bee farmers are interested in the production of the Oku White Honey for income and as source of income

The Oku White Honey has been certified as Geographical Indication Product by the African Property Right Organisation and this has resulted in increase in price of Oku White Honey

CAMGEW has been interested in forest conservation but faced the challenge of bushfire that could be handled through the promotion of apiculture in this forest area

Poverty and unemployment hit hard in the Kilum-Ijim forest area, and community members are in need of solutions

Lessons learned

Since the development of apiculture in the area by CAMEGW in 2012, the number of bushfires has been reduced to about 2 per year compared to 5-8 per year in the past. Bee farmers now understand the importance of protecting the forest and their beehives from bushfire

There has been community solidarity in handling community problems after learning to act as one to tackkle bushfires to protect common interest, which is their beehives and eventually the forest

Many women have engaged in apiculture. Women own beehives in the forest and produce honey

Many women have joined their husbands in apiculture and there is no need to hire a second person for assistance. More money is saved in the family and knowledge is passed on.

Many more youths remain in the village to carry out bee farming

The honey sector is better organized, as we held elections from the village level to the section level and cooperative level.So far, bee farmers have been organized in 28 village levels groups and in 6 bee farmers’ cooperatives in order to improve the honey quality and quantity and get better market access.