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The specialist international beekeeping organisation

Bees, Trees and People

The forests surrounding Lake Tana in Ethiopia has sadly decreased from 40% cover to just 1% since the 1980s.

This means there is a high rate of land erosion from water and wind, and significant biodiversity loss. This is leading to a bleak future for young people.


In 2018, Rowse partnered with Bees for Development to:

  • Restore these forest sites - recently nominated as a UNESCO Biosphere for its national and international natural and cultural importance
  • And help the poorest families near the forest sites to begin beekeeping.


The plan

Two areas of degraded land in the Lake Tana catchment area will be reforested, working closely with the local community to close an area currently used for open grazing. While this forest naturally regenerates, it will receive additional tree planting of the best nectar-giving species.


As this area becomes re-forested, a wealth of natural resources will return and honey bees will re-populate the area. Through methods of sustainable beekeeping, honey bees will provide a financial benefit for the local people.


The people and skills

This project will provide beekeeping training to people in two villages in the Lake Tana catchment area. This will give them the skills and knowledge to be able to benefit from the honey bees, and from the re-foresting process.

One village called Ysala has already been identified, by Bees for Development Ethiopia, as an ideal candidate for this project. A second village will soon be chosen after thorough research.

Bees for Development will focus on helping two vulnerable groups:

Women-headed households earn just £250/year and landless youth earn around £320/year.


New beekeepers, means new livelihoods. We will be training young landless women and men in beekeeping, giving them a way to earn a living and to secure a better future. Soon they will be able to construct low-cost beehives, learn good honey and wax harvesting practices and understand how best to market and trade their new products.


"Beekeeping is such a good business for me, because I do not need to find money for seed fertilisers or animal feed. Deforestation is now a big problem. We need to make a change for us all to benefit."

Mengistu, new beekeeper, Ethiopia, 2017.


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Bees for Development Trust is the working title of The Troy Trust, Registered Charity 1078803
Registered Address: 1 Agincourt Street, Monmouth, NP25 3DZ, UK
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