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Rotary grant helps Haiti honey farmers

The Langley Sunrise Rotary Club has given a $4,500 grant to Help For Haiti, to assist honey farmers in Haiti increase their annual output. Bee project co-ordinator John Gibeau (right) met with farmers in Jeremie, Haiti. - Contributed photo
The Langley Sunrise Rotary Club has given a $4,500 grant to Help For Haiti, to assist honey farmers in Haiti increase their annual output. Bee project co-ordinator John Gibeau (right) met with farmers in Jeremie, Haiti.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Langley Sunrise Rotary Club is helping boost honey production in Haiti.

In year 2011, Rotary International Help for Haiti Society approached management of the Haitian Health Foundation (HHF) and asked if it would be interested in a beekeeping project in the area around the city of Jeremie, Haiti. The society has had a relationship with the HHF since 2004, primarily supplying flour mills to make Akamil, a source of protein and carbohydrates.

Beekeepers in Haiti have been slowly making the transition to modern beekeeping equipment by building wooden boxes and frames themselves. Unfortunately, due to lack of knowledge and no tools other than a hand saw and hand planer, they do not have the correct bee spaces inside, nor do they have uniform foundations, resulting in a disorganized colony which is difficult to manage.

The average yield of a bee colony in Haiti is 15 kilograms per year.  The average yield with properly managed modern equipment should be closer to 65 kilograms per year.

The 20-year plan is to have 1,000 beekeepers managing 10,000 colonies (10 each). This would employ upwards of 5,000 people, and producing 325 tons of organic moringa honey, bringing more than  $2 million into the economy annually.

“We were impressed with the 20-year plan,” said club president Rod Wainwright.  “This is a community development focused project that will hopefully help to generate employment for thousands of people in an area of the world that really does need a hand up.  The business model for the organic moringa honey demonstrates a significant boost for the local economy.”

The grant is destined to help with the purchase of tools, customs and shipping costs.

Close to $8,000 in beekeeping equipment has been shipped, and two training sessions held for over 30 farmers.

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