Making a living as honey producers: Farm Africa’s beekeeping programme for unemployed young people in the Tigray region – Ethiopia

Matthew Newsome, (The Guardian) The Hindu, January 6, 2014

In the Tigray region of Ethiopia, increasing numbers of young people have no access to the land and its resources. Farming land here is already scarce, and many farms are very small. Many young people risk their lives by migrating to countries in the Middle East to work in domestic servitude, while others are resigned to living in extreme poverty. […]

The issue of landless youth is fast becoming a national crisis in Ethiopia where 30 per cent of young people are unemployed. […]

To help mitigate this crisis of land scarcity and spiralling youth unemployment, Farm Africa, an NGO, which has directors based in Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam, has begun supplying beehives to 900 landless young people in the Tigray region to give them a resilient means of making a living. […]

In his first year Gebre expects to sell 16kg of white honey after keeping 15 per cent of his harvest for household and nutritional purposes. He stands to earn £150 a year and has the option of increasing production by splitting the bee colonies.

For a ripple effect

The project will have a ripple effect, says Desta Araya, Farm Africa’s project coordinator. “After the first year of beekeeping and training, the beneficiary will supply another member of the landless youth with one of their bee colonies. If every targeted youth does this, the impact is potentially unlimited.”

Ethiopia is Africa’s largest honey consumer and producer. The white honey produced in the Tigray region is widely regarded as a national delicacy and in high demand across the country.

Young landless families in Tigray suffer high levels of poverty and malnutrition. Women in the region suffer in particular from poor nutrition and a recent survey showed that nearly a third were underweight, while more than half of the children under-five were affected by stunted growth. […]

In Tigray, the erratic rainfall and a population expected to jump from 90 million to an estimated 278 million by 2050, makes the issue of land access seem insoluble.

But small acts can have big effects; Farm Africa’s beekeeping programme also gives young people an opportunity to build their own businesses and reduce their dependency on diminishing land access. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2014

Source: Bee-keeping brings Ethiopians hope – The Hindu
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