By William Nlanjerbor JALULAH
Since 2011, when beekeeping was introduced to some sixteen communities in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region by World Vision Ghana, the people have fully embraced their newly found avenue for self-empowerment.
The members, who were divided into sixteen bee keeping groups and drawn from sixteen communities, who harvest the honey twice in a year, indicated that with the proceeds from the sale of honey, they are able to cater for their children’s health needs and education.
Telling their success stories, the beneficiaries said apart from economic gains, there are also medicinal values attached to the use of honey.
They said, for example, they use honey to sooth the cough of their children, including adults, while emphasizing that honey has the potential of boosting the memory and also used for the treatment of wounds.
The Secretary for the Yameriga Bee-keeping group at the Yemeriga Community, Samuel Batang, revealed that the produce was in high demand and that a bottle was sold for GHc 7, while a gallon went for GHc 70. He added that due to the nutritional value of honey, his children are healthier and intelligent than before.
The Secretary said: “As a group, we save the proceeds in a common pool after harvesting and later on share the money to be able to take care of our children’s needs. Most of us pay for the National Health Insurance Scheme premium and school fees of our children through the honey we sell”.
The Manager in charge of the Famer Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR), and initiative of World Vision Ghana, Mr. Samuel Abasiba, explained the initiative by the organization to initiate Bee-keeping module which fell under the FMNR was to help the community members to diversify their livelihood options.
It was also aimed at introducing an environmentally friendly method of keeping bees, which was different from the traditional way of using fire to kill bees before harvesting honey. This, he explained, often cause bushfires which erode the gains that would be made from FMNR pilot fields.
According to him, before the inception of the initiative, WVG trained the beneficiaries in beekeeping methods, harvesting and processing of honey and expressed satisfaction in the success rate of the intervention, from which he said the communities have been able to obtain unadulterated honey from the project.
Mr. Abasiba observed that the incidence of honey harvesting related to bush fires has reduced significantly and the beneficiaries were now able to sell the produce to provide for their children’s education and health needs.
Again, it had been another way of bringing community members together, thus fostering unity and oneness among them, stressing that “The sector when given much attention could help empower the rural communities, boost the local economy and export.
“There is the need for government and other stakeholders to pay attention to the sector.”Some of the beneficiary communities include; Yamsok, Tongo Beon, Yagzore,Balungu, Namolgo,Wuug, Santeng and Sawalg.
In all 640 people were engaged in the project.
In a related development, World Vision Ghana in its bit to try and address food insecurity in the Upper East Region has provided livestocks to some deprived communities in the Talensi District to rear.
The idea behind the support was to help address food insecurity in the area due to the unpredictable nature of rainfall pertain in the entirety of Upper East Region, which has brought about poor yields of crops. This has made huge numbers of families with women and children mainly severely suffer.
In its bid to address the phenomenon, WVG has empowered some community members in the Talensi District to go into livestocks rearing to supplement their poor yields. Sixty beneficiaries, made up of thirty males and thirty females from six communities were given a goat each last year.
Among the six communities were Santeng, Tindongo, Yamsok and Wuug. Others were also given rabbits to rear.
Some of the beneficiaries, during a field visit to inspect the level of development, said majority of them have had their livelihoods improved, particularly on the wellbeing of their children and families.
Whilst some said they sold some of the animals to buy foodstuffs to supplement the little they harvested in the last crop season to feed their children and themselves, others also noted that they were able to buy school uniforms, pay National Health Insurance Scheme premium for themselves and their children.
The Talensi Area Development Programme Manager of WVG, Mr. Fredrick Amoabeng, explained that what informed his outfit to empower the community member to go into livestock rearing is the continuous change in weather, resulting in lower crop yields in the area and said the proceeds from livestock would complement the communities’ food needs.
He said WVG, among its topmost priorities is to see to the welfare of children and would continue to explore other possible measures to help address issues concerning the proper development and welfare of children.
He said viewing the significant impact the livestock project had made on the livelihoods of many of the communities, there was the possibility that it could be extended to other operational areas of WVG in the Region.
One key modality was that beneficiaries were made to give some of the littered animals to their neighbors in a revolving system.