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The specialist international beekeeping organisation

The value of bees in development

Ten good reasons why bees are valuable in development.

  1. Pollination
    Bees pollinate flowering plants - this activity is vital for life on earth. Adequate pollination leads to good quality seeds and fruits and is essential for maintaining biodiversity. 
  2. Useful products
    Honey is valued by all societies as a healthy food or medicine.
    Beeswax is used in candles and cosmetics and has many other uses.
    Pollen and propolis may also be harvested from bees.
  3. Land use 
    Bees visit flowers anywhere so wild, cultivated and protected areas all have value for beekeeping. Beekeeping does not use up land that could be used for crops.
  4. Low cost 
    Beekeeping can be very low cost. Hives and other equipment can be made locally and bees are freely available. Bees do not depend on the beekeeper for food. Hive numbers can increase slowly as skills and resources allow. 
  5. Income creation
    Where beekeepers have good market access, beekeeping easily generates a profit.
  6. Sustainable 
    Beekeeping is non extractive and sustainable. Beekeepers are friends of the natural environment, willing to collaborate to conserve forests and vegetation where bees live and forage 
  7. Benefits for several sectors
    Where there are beekeeping activities, other people in the community generate income by making equipment, selling bee products and making secondary products.
  8. Comparative advantage 
    In areas of developing countries where there are abundant natural resources and healthy bee populations, there are good opportunities to market organic-certified honey.
  9. Resilient income 
    Beekeeping is resilient when disasters happen. Displaced communities can make hives and gain benefit in a relatively short time. It is not necessary for beekeepers to own land or be permanently settled.
  10. Gender and age inclusive 
    Bees can be kept by women and men of all ages. Bees do not need daily care and can be attended to as other work allows.


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