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Church of the Brethren - GFI
The Honduras Comayagua program supports marginalized families living near the Cerro Azul Meambar National Park by providing them with training on improved animal management practices, nutrition, and marketing practices. Families are selected based on their poverty, access to a small amount of land to implement the animal project on, and interest. The entire family is then involved in training. After training, families receive livestock and are responsible for passing on the gift (offspring) at the end of the year. Animal management is focused on the breeding of chickens, pigs, tilapia, and in some cases, bees. With the exception of the bees, these are all used as important protein sources for the family and also provide some opportunities for generating income (both food availability and access). With the bees there is a well established local market for honey that local partner PAG has experience with. The nutrition training is focused on incorporating families with children under the age of 2 into PAG’s community health network, and families with children under the age of five receive nutrition training. Marketing is focused on creating a community led and managed small animal producers association that cooperatively markets products.
Beekeeping Proves to be One Honey of an Opportunity
My name is Sara. I live with my husband, José, and our two daughters, 8 and 5. We recently learned beekeeping through the program, and we love it! Once you’re set up, the bees do all the work to make the honey. We harvest every 15-20 days in the summer, anywhere from two to 60 one-quart bottles, depending on how many coffee trees are flowering around our hives. Our honey is high quality, and we can sell it for a good price – $6.00 a quart. The money allows us to buy food and medicines, and we’ve noticed that eating honey keeps us healthier, too.
José breaks rocks in the quarry for construction, and we both work as laborers during the coffee harvest. So, when [local partner] PAG offered training in beekeeping or raising pigs, chickens or tilapia, we started dreaming about earning more by selling honey.
Initially, we spent time with a beekeeping family in another community, learning about bee management and honey production. After that orientation, PAG gave us technical training, two beehives, and bee-handling equipment. Once we had a little practice, we began to find and capture natural bee swarms in the mountains, and expanded our honeybee operations to ten double-box hives in less than a year. We are preparing two extra hives to give to the next family as part of the “pass it on” program run by PAG.
Our goal is to have 30 double-box hives to provide us with a good additional income for our family. We’re thankful to God and the program for this opportunity.
Photo caption: José shows the family’s double-box hives
Honduras Comayagua Program
Led by Church of the Brethren and Local Partner Proyecto Aldea Global (PAG)
22 communities, 180 households, 1,960 individuals