Don't cut trees, keep bees!

01 April 2012 | News story

In Georgia, where IUCN is helping rural people find alternative livelihoods to illegal logging, it’s finding that there is great enthusiasm for bee keeping and honey production as a new business venture.

The villagers of Tadzrisi and Sakire in Borjomi district were heavily dependent on forest resources and suffered from a government crackdown on illegal logging. The area was logged heavily in the 1990s and the signs of deforestation are clearly visible.

Last year, five farmers from the two villages were each given a bee colony and a hive to help start their own honey production business. They were the top candidates in a special training workshop that was given.

Mr Murman Tabukashvili is a bee keeping expert who is well known for his high-quality honey. He expressed an interest in helping other local people to establish their own businesses and hopes that his village will become the destination for people willing to buy good honey.

“To people who are interested in the development of honey-making businesses in the village, I would like to say that everything is possible,” he said.

An announcement was made about the training and all interested people were invited to participate. The training was carried out by Mrs Darejan Baliashvili, Professor from the Scientific-Research Institute of Bee Keeping. Participants included both experienced and beginner bee keepers who learned about many topics from bee biology, reproduction and development, to the various aspects of honey production.

Participants then undertook a final examination. The five ‘winners’ were selected based on the exam’s results as well as on the candidates’ motivation and readiness to pursue their business opportunity. All the winners received the tools for bee keeping and honey production.

“I am happy to be a winner of this project. I am very interested in this business and I am planning to develop it more and more. I plan to add three more bee families next year and transform my yard into a bee farm,” said Mr Malkhaz Gogoladze from Tadzrisi village.

“I learned a lot during the training. I want to do bee keeping and add more and more bee families in the future. My father and brother are supporting me in this,” said the youngest winner, 16 year-old, Nodar Kapanadze.

For more information contact Ekaterine Otarashvili Ekaterine.otarashvili@iucn.org