A sweet livelihood
‘I love bees and I love honey,’ says Ezequiel, who took part in an entrepreneurship programme run by a local Tearfund partner working in Goma, DRC, called Effective Life Vision. They help young adults like Ezequiel to build sustainable ways of making an income by providing them with coaching and other support.
Ezequiel says, ‘I realised there was a shortage of honey, and the little that we could find at the market was poor quality or mixed with other things – and this was harmful for people’s health. So, I had this desire in my heart to bring pure honey to people who need it.’
Ezequiel started with six hives and after receiving some financial assistance from Tearfund, he has been able to grow his bee enterprise.
How to gather honey
‘We start by making the hives,’ explains Ezequiel. ‘They are made out of bamboo and cow dung, and when the hives are ready, we go and find the bees to put inside.’
From then on, the bees are closely monitored and cared for and about six months later, the first honey is ready to collect from the hives to take to market.
The bees in each of Ezequiel’s hives can produce five to ten litres of honey every six months, and because honey is in demand in the market, Ezequiel finds it very easy to sell what his bees provide.
Ezequiel also points out that, as primary pollinators, bees have a crucial role to play in helping trees, flowers and the environment to flourish.
Pollinating food production
In fact, pollinators (like bees) contribute directly to food security. According to bee experts at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, a third of the world’s food production depends on bees.
In a country where around 87 per cent of the population lives below the poverty line, Ezequiel’s bees are providing him with a healthy, sustainable job that benefits the local ecosystem, provides an excellent product to market and which Ezequiel says he loves to do.
Looking ahead, Ezequiel hopes to be able to build more modern hives that will last much longer – even up to 20 years – creating a safer environment for his bees as they work.
He’s also thinking about how he could build a ‘honey factory’ – a centre where he can make things out of honey and prepare it for export.
Ezequiel is grateful for the input he has received and says, ‘We ask that Tearfund continues to support our efforts to bring solutions in our community.’
Watch Ezequiel tell his story here.