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Bees for Babar (BfB) beneficiaries recieve regular training.bee_training_women's_cooperative_harvest1

An open palapa-style building in Mognori serves as a training venue. (Note how men and women self-sorted into separate sides of the structure.)

 

Activities and results...

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Mohammed Ali Ibrahim and Conrad Bérubé have conducted a number of training sessions in Mognori and the surrounding communities. (Expenses associated with travel were funded by USAID's Farmer-to-Farmer program)..
   
Seidu Pasor, who joined Bees for Babar as a community beekeeping trainer in 2012, conducts an introductory beekeeping training session in Muguru, the next community further out from Mognori.
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Seidu and Conrad conducted a number of training sessions in Larabanga in 2012 such as this in which personal protective equipment and the use of smokers was covered. Seidu has since continued to work with beekeeping cooperatives in the area.
 
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Training sessions are participative and tap local experiences. Above and below, co-op members lead groups in discussions of the use of honey as a component of rehydration therapy for the treatment of childhood diarrhea.
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Lemon grass, Cymbopogon citratus, produces the chemical citral which is highly attractive to swarming bees. During swarm season, lemon grass and beeswax can be rubbed inside the hive and around nest entrances of empty hives to attract scout bees from swarms seeking an appropriate nesting site. The attractiveness of the hive can be augmented if the hive can be hauled up above three meters and can be lowered down after it is occupied.
 
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During a short-course in Mognori, local students were solicited to come up with their own designs for swarm traps. Their efforts produced admirable results (three from Raffia palm fronds and one from scrounged wood). Students who catch swarms could sell them to local beekeepers.
   
Mohammed Ali Ibrahim, Conrad Bérubé, Joshua Curry-Bascome, a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, and Seidu Pasor (manning the camera for this shot) facilitating hands-on training for approximately 40 community members in Mognori.
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To preserve local forests, Ali and Seidu have experimented with building hives from materials other than lumber such as concrete (above and left) or bamboo or shrubwood (below).
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Five-gallon plastic jerry cans are used for storage and sale of bulk honey. Ali has pioneered the use of the containers, if they have developed leaks, as swarm traps. Like other such traps, they are hung in trees until occupied and then lowered and the bees and combs they have built on top bars are transferred into a Kenya Top Bar Hive.
 
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Intensive management practices, especially harvesting, is traditionally conducted at night when bees are not flying. At left a group of men conducting an evening harvest. (By cultural preference men and women's groups open operate separately.)
   
A women's group spontanously breaks into a traditional chant and response song after a successful harvesting training session.
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Honeycomb, collected in night-time "tapping" sessions, is covered in the field with leaves to keep bees from crawling back onto it. (BfB trainees collect honey only from one side of the nest to ensure that bees have sufficient stores to meet their own needs so the harvested colony does not abscond.) Combs are crushed and coursely filtered with plastic or reed baskets. After course filtering honey is passed through cheesecloth to remove small particles.
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For the purposes of training, filtering is conducted with exposed comb and honey-- but normally this must be conducted indoors or under plastic covering so that nearby bees do not discover the horde and begin taking back the honey.
 
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An attractive label can increase the marketability of the finished product. BfB clients are currently exploring avenues for sales of honey, within Ghana,over the internet. (Have experience in such sales? Please contact us at uc779(at)freenet.victoria.bc.ca) 

Honey producers currently prefer to sell honey in bulk and efforts are under way to encourage sales of smaller lots to tourists visiting Mole Park. A local source of suitable clean, litre-sized containers is the principle bottleneck.


 

Wax is the second most economically important product of the hive and, even in raw form, on a weight to weight basis, is more valuable than honey. However, new beekeepers often do not recognize the economic potential of wax if properly processed. Simple techniques for purifying beeswax were covered in training sessions to encourage the clients to render comb for sale or home use.

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Beeswax has been used in traditional African crafts such as batik dyeing, candle-making and in the production of cosmetics such as moisturing hair and skin products (often along with locally produced shea butter). However, the manufacture of these products is not well known in the Mognori area and were introduced in training sessions. A technique developed by trainees involved using the hollow stems of papaya leaves as molds for beautiful long tapered candles (above right).
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In 2018 materials were provided to produce 70 hives in Mognori. The income from these hives will be used to finance savings and loans associations that will finance income-generating activities within the community.
Seidu Pasor continues to conduct training sessions with beekeeping groups, particularly women's co-operatives such as this one in 2018.
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