With the Computerlab project almost finished, I've started working with Joshua to see if we can do one more project before I leave: Setting up a RUDEC apiary that can host up to 30 hives.
The fist step was to find good land, with good meaning: 1) suitable for bees with nearby water and an abundance of flowering plants, 2) affordable and 3) not too far away to hamper frequent visits and harvesting.
Joshua was able to find the land we were looking for in the nearby area of Baicham. This is where the father of our cook (Victorine) is the local chief and after a couple of meetings he agreed to sell a small plot of land (180 m^2) on a gently sloping hill side. In the end we were able to buy it for 40.000CFA which is roughly 0.35 EUR per square meter.
We measured the land by using my android phone with GPS to get the corner coordinates and measure the general outline of the land:
The next steps will be to construct the (30) beehives and install them on the land. Also we need to purchase seeds for trees and flowering plants to improve the suitability of the site even more. For this we are still looking for donations to purchase the wood necessary for construction so if you feel like supporting this project we would really appreciate it :)
It will take some time for the apiary to start producing honey, but once all the hives are installed and colonized it should provide up to 300 liters of natural honey per year in a sustainable way. This income we will use to fund RUDEC projects (such as the orphan project) and pay for field staff salaries (the aim is to pay staff around 1000CFA per working day, or about 1.5 Euro/day).
Oh, and if you are wondering about the title: A typical African beehive will contain a bee colony of around 80.000 bees, so an apiary of around 30 hives will support a total population of around 2.4 million bees! (phew, that is almost a country!)
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