Apiculture to engage communities in fighting bush fires, provide income and protect biodiversity - Kilum-Ijin Forest, Cameroon

Published: 13 November 2017
Last edited: 30 March 2019
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The project provides an innovative model for biodiversity preservation, based on community
action to increase the production of Oku White Honey, conserve the forest and develop markets for finished products benefiting to the local populations living in and around high biodiversity areas. We promote biodiversity conservation through the regeneration of degraded forest biodiversity with native bee loving and economic trees, which will help increase the quantity of honey produced. The project also strengthen the Oku White Honey value chain by improving the quality of the finished products and developing robust markets. This program helps organize bee farmers, leads to job creation and increases the revenue of the local population. The development of this green value chain reduces pressure on natural resources, encourages communities to support conservation efforts, builds capacity among community leaders, including women, and improves the livelihoods of the population. 



West and Central Africa
Scale of implementation
Forest ecosystems
Tropical evergreen forest
Access and benefit sharing
Biodiversity mainstreaming
Ecosystem services
Forest Management
Species management
Land and Forest degradation
Loss of Biodiversity
Unsustainable harvesting incl. Overfishing
Conflicting uses / cumulative impacts
Lack of alternative income opportunities
Lack of technical capacity
Lack of public and decision maker’s awareness
Poor monitoring and enforcement
Lack of infrastructure
Lack of food security
Sustainable development goals
SDG 1 – No poverty
SDG 8 – Decent work and economic growth
SDG 11 – Sustainable cities and communities
SDG 12 – Responsible consumption and production
Aichi targets
Target 7: Sustainable agriculture, aquaculture and forestry


Bamenda Plateau, Boyo, Northwest, Cameroon | Kilum-Ijim forest located on Mount Kilum, the Western Highlands of Cameroon


  • Forest Management Institution (FMI) is weak and mismanaged
  • Domestic animals goats, sheep and cattle are feeding in the forest
  • Bushfires destroy the forest biodiversity.
  • Muti-stakeholder Forest platform is lacking 
  • Poor Application of norms for the Oku White Honey and Prunus africana:
  • Production capacity: The production of these goods (bee wax, Oku White Honey,
    Prunus) is still low. 
  • Equipment and support for bee farmers lacking: such as bee suits, harvesting containers, knives, bee smokers, Boats, gloves, etc. 
  • Marketing of honey and bees wax is still poor. Those who need them never easily have access to them.
  • Beehive construction needs improvement. 
  • There is a lot of clandestine commercialization of honey and bees wax from this region. 



The beneficiaries of our activities are:

- Bee farmers in Kilum-Ijim forest

- Other forest users like hunters, firewood fetchers

- Women and children through livelihood opportunities like forest vegetables, fruits,

- Kilum-Ijim forest community for water

How do the building blocks interact?

Bushfires are one of the threats to Kilum-Ijim forest conservation and bee farming has helped solve the problem. When CAMGEW train community members on apiculture and give them beehives, they protect the forest. Beehives provide income, so bee farmers no longer burn the forests - instead, they actively fight bush fires. CAMGEW supported bee farmers in selling their honey by providing a honey shop in town. This sustains their jobs and income from honey. To secure honey in sufficient quantity and quality for the market, bee farmers are organised into cooperatives, provided with materials and trained on apiculture.

The environment (in this case a forest) is a house created on earth to feed and create a favourable condition for its occupants (humans included). The forest needs to be healthy to feed its occupants. Anthropogenic activities have destroyed the forest. With modern bee keeping, we can construct beehives where bees enter and pay rent with their honey (harvested sustainably).


  • As of July 2017, CAMGEW has planted 64,000 native bee-loving trees in Kilum-Ijim forest within a surface area of 157 hectares. Thanks to these trees, communities can produce the Oku White Honey that has been certified as Geographical Indication Product. The trees planted improve the habitat of endemic species like Mount Oku rat, Bannerman’s turaco, Newtonia camerunensis, and Lake Oku frog.
  • CAMGEW developed 3 nurseries around Kilum-Ijim forest with a capacity of about 200.000 native bee-loving trees.
  • CAMGEW has trained 824 bee farmers as trainers, who trained about 436 others on beehive construction and bee wax and honey production. Bee farmers received 617 beehives as starting point and have constructed 1972 more hives.
  • So far, bee farmers have been organized in 28 village level groups and in 6 bee farmers’ cooperatives in order to improve the honey quality and quantity to get better market access.
  • Since CAMGEW started development of apiculture in the area in 2012, number of bushfires have 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.
  • In order to help beneficiaries sell their products and increase their revenue, CAMGEW opened a Honeyshop in Bamenda. 
  • http://www.dw.com/en/money-for-forest-honey/a-37473719



I grew up in a peasant home with my grand parents who were positive, hard working and determined to build change makers in their offsprings. Our environment was natural, with forests that gave us firewood, mushrooms, rats, water, wild fruits, honey and freshair. My grand dad told me one morning that the number of houses built in the community were increasing and the forest and farmland were reducing. He said that in the future our forest will be gone and he is afraid water, freshair and food from the forest will reduce. I was in elementary school and I could not understand him. He told me, I am child of the community and their generation is phasing out, so we as children must make sure the knowledge we acquire should help tackle these problems. He said it was difficult to live without water, firewood and good air and that it was also difficult avoid development in form of roads and house construction. He asked me how we could create a balance? This was a big question for me to answer and he kept on reminding me through seondary and higher eucation: I had to be the solution. The Kilum-Ijim forest was fast disappearing. I did sciences and studied Environmental Restoration until Masters' level and joined a charity workinging in the Deng Deng forest in East Cameroon to build my skills in conservation. When I was leaving school, a Birdlife International funded project in Kilum-Ijim forest was ending and there was need for continuity. After working with Global Village Cameroon in the Deng Deng Forest for 5 years I had obtained the skills and experience. I founded Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW) to work on forest issues in the English part of Cameroon. In 2011, when I came back home, I received a message from my grand dad before he died. He said it was time to come back to serve my own people and forest. In 2011, the World Bank launched a forest governance Development Marketplace Competition which CAMGEW won. This was the entry point and we later got many other partners while working. CAMGEW conservation project tackles poverty, unemployment, women empowerment and preserve the forest for ecosystem services. Our organisation is now the leading conservation organisation in Kilum-Ijim forest. By 2017, CAMGEW had planted 63,000 trees, trained above 600 beefarmers and above 700 beehives. We are converting bee farmers honey to money too. I am proud that I serve my people.

Contributed by

Wirsiy Emmanuel Binyuy

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