In Ghana, the Bee Project gives women and youth room to make their own income. Natives of Nkwanta in the Volta region are energetically occupied in beekeeping to create wealth. Honey production has become an essential foundation of extra income for people in the Adaklu communities, in Ghana.
All the regions show increasing trend of honey production as well as increasing projected trend figures in honey production. Sum production of honey (in gallons) in the Brong Ahafo region, Northern, Upper East, Upper West and Ashanti regions for 2008 was 10,584; 4,262; 1,533; 1,746 and 7,423 gallons, correspondingly. The global market for honey is rising and Ghana is expected to help fill the supply space in Africa.
According to Extra Mile West Africa (EMWA), a non-governmental and community development organization, there are estimated 3,000 or so beekeepers in the region, although they are widely dispersed and mainly operating on a subsistence level.
EMWA, which is championing bee-keeping in the Nkwanta District, said it has identified the business as crucial in reducing poverty in the district.
Also, the total predicted number of beekeepers according to Business Consultancy and Research Unit of the Evangelical Presbyterian University College in eight districts in the Volta Region of Ghana covered by the study is 800, showing an average of 100 beekeepers in each district.
In a similar development, SNV commissioned TRAX a member of the Northern Honey Beeswax Value Chain Network, a network of organizations supporting the honey sector in the northern sector of Ghana to undertake a new comprehensive study, focusing on entire honey value chain including production potentials, market demands and explore the dynamics influencing the development of the sector.
In January 2012, the first consignment of honey from Ghana was shipped to the European Union (EU) after a 10-month accreditation search.
Atlas Foods Ghana Limited facilitated this with support from Ghana’s Regulatory Agencies. The packaged honey meant for export was mainly from the Nkwanta and Kpassa areas of the Volta region of Ghana. Ghana thus joins five other African countries, Uganda, Tanzania, Cameroun, Ethiopia, and Zambia, who have also received the accreditation to export honey to the EU market.
Five Hundred and fifty six members of the Abibiman Sankofa Cultural Movement (ASCUM) had a two-week seminar on beekeeping and supported with managerial training and micro credit to enable them start their own businesses.
Most of the participants were drawn from Tetekasum, Trio, Oboango, Dokrochewa, Sowatey, Booase and Densuso in the Suhum Kraboa Coaltar District and Akim Oda and surrounding areas.
ASCUM, a community based organisation (CBO), operating in most districts of the Eastern Region, uses traditional culture to promote income-generating activities for the people to help alleviate poverty in the communities.
In a similar move, Community Partnership for Youth and Women Development (CPYWD), Ghana, has trained 150 women and youth in beekeeping in 9 communities in Bimbilla area.
The 150 participants will receive a beehives set (including protecting cloths) so they can actually start as a beekeeper. They have to pay back the beekeeping set within three years. Each honey harvest, they hand over a percentage of their income plus a service fee.
Nathan Burrell recruits student volunteers at Agogo School to help gather and sell honey; it deals with honey produced by villagers in Ghana. The Honey Project’s coordinator, Nathan Burrell, admits that honey seems like an unusual focus in this day and age, but says he wanted to find something that was both feasible and profitable. On his visit, Burrell says his U.S. partners discovered natural honeybees near the village and saw it as a major business prospect.
The Netherlands Development Organisation, a group pursuing poverty reduction in Ghana, has been supporting Ghana honey processing since 2006.
In the same vein, Ghana Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MOFA) and several development organizations, including Heifer Project International, FORUM and SNV are providing support in terms of management and technical training, equipment supplies and funding to make honey processing and beekeeping successful and striking in Ghana.
Additionally, Savannah Pure Honey Company (SPHC) is a Honey Marketing company started by the Literacy and Development through Partnership (LDP) based in Tamale in northern Ghana. SPHC is involved in honey processing, training of farmers, supply of beekeeping logistics/equipment.
Beekeeping and honey production could provide self-employment and trustworthy superior incomes if sufficiently supported to grow. Presently, a gallon of honey is selling at between GH¢30.00 and GH¢40.00 in the Volta Region.
With the support honey processing and beekeeping are getting in Ghana and the enthusiasm in the people to engage in the venture, beekeeping and honey processing can become a major source of income for most rural families in Ghana contributing up to 72% of rural income.
Thus the Ghanaian government must encourage this by incorporating beekeeping and honey processing into her agricultural policy.