Relief to Flood Victims in Akuressa [2023]
February 6, 2024
Support to Grand Smile Elders Home, Haputale
June 25, 2024

Community Bee Keeping Project at Inginimitiya Irrigation Scheme [2023]

I/D/E/A/S initiated a Bee keeping Development Project in March 2023, at the Inginimitiya Irrigation scheme in Puttalam district. The project is implemented by Infotechs-IDEAS with the active support of the Inginimitiya Irrigation Department staff.

The primary objective of this project is to promote bee keeping as an income-generating cottage industry among community members in the highland areas of Inginimitiya village, thereby contributing to improving their living standards. Through this intervention, combined with the provision of training on beekeeping, the project aims to create a self-reliant community of beekeepers capable of independently managing their bee colonies and generating additional income from honey production.

In this regard, I/D/E/A/S distributed 32 bee boxes containing bee colonies among 21 selected candidates in the area on 23rd March 2023. The 21 candidates selected by the project include 11 female and 10 male candidates in the age group of 17 to 65 years. Among them are housewives, farmers, fishermen, government employees, university students and advanced level school students.

The beekeeping community has established a community organisation named “Diriya Shakthi Bingunada Society” with the support of a training instructor from the National Livestock Development Board for further development and expansion of beekeeping among unemployed youth in the area.

The first harvest of bee’s honey is expected during the first half of March 2024. The project will assist the beekeepers to market their honey and other related products such as beehives, beeswax, and beehive boxes.
The expected outcome of this project is to empower the existing Bee Honey Community Organisation in Inginimitiya by expanding its membership with 10-15 new beekeepers and equipping them with the necessary resources and training. This empowerment will lead to a more robust and self-sustaining community capable of effectively managing bee colonies, increasing honey production, and improving the economic well-being of its members.
This initiative will also lead to the following direct and indirect benefits:

A. Direct benefits

  • Increased Honey Production: The provision of 25 additional bee boxes with colonies and bee honey extraction equipment will directly lead to an increase in honey production within the community. More beekeepers and colonies mean a higher production of honey, which can be sold or consumed for personal use, providing a direct economic benefit to the community members.
  • Expanded Community Engagement: By adding 10-15 new members to the existing Bee Honey Community Organisation and providing them with training and equipment, the project directly fosters an expanded and engaged community of beekeepers. This strengthens the organisation's social fabric, promotes knowledge sharing, and creates a supportive network of beekeeping enthusiasts, which can enhance the overall success and sustainability of beekeeping endeavours in Inginimitiya.

B. Indirect benefits:

  • Environmental Stewardship: As the beekeeping community grows and becomes more proficient, it indirectly contributes to environmental stewardship. Bees are vital pollinators, and an increase in bee colonies can enhance pollination services for local flora, including agricultural crops. This indirectly supports biodiversity and sustainable agriculture practices in the Inginimitiya area.
  • Economic Diversification: The expansion of beekeeping activities can lead to economic diversification in the community. As honey production increases, it opens up opportunities for secondary income streams, such as selling beeswax, bee-related products or offering pollination services to local farmers. These additional income sources can provide greater financial stability for community members over time.

The Sustainability of the project depends on several factors:

  1. Capacity Building: The training provided by experienced community members ensures that new beekeepers acquire the knowledge and skills required to maintain healthy colonies and extract honey efficiently. Ongoing training and mentorship will be essential to keep beekeepers informed about best practices.
  2.  Community Cohesion: Fostering a sense of community and collaboration among beekeepers is vital. This network can provide mutual support, share knowledge, and address challenges collectively. Regular community meetings and forums can facilitate information exchange and strengthen relationships among members.
  3. Resource Management: Proper management of beekeeping resources, including bee boxes, colonies, and extraction equipment, is crucial. Ensuring equipment maintenance, colony health monitoring, and sustainable beekeeping practices will help maximise the longevity and productivity of resources.
  4. Market Access: To sustain the economic benefits of beekeeping, the community should establish reliable market channels for honey and bee-related products. Developing partnerships with local markets or cooperatives can provide a consistent income source, encouraging beekeepers to continue their involvement.
  5. Environmental Stewardship: Encouraging and promoting sustainable beekeeping practices that prioritise the health of bee colonies and the local ecosystem are essential to maintain a suitable environment for beekeeping and contribute to pollinator conservation.
  6. Inclusivity and Expansion: The project's sustainability can be enhanced by continuing to welcome new members into the community organisation. Expanding the beekeeping community ensures a diverse pool of beekeepers and strengthens the organisation's longevity.
  7. Monitoring and Evaluation: Regularly assessing the project's progress and impact is essential for sustainability. Monitoring can identify challenges or areas for improvement, allowing for adjustments to be made as needed to optimize project outcomes.
  8. Local Ownership: Encouraging local ownership and leadership within the community organization builds a sense of responsibility and commitment. When community members take pride in the project's success and feel ownership over its outcomes, they are more likely to ensure its continuity and maintenance.

By integrating these strategies, the project aims to establish a sustainable beekeeping community in Inginimitiya, providing ongoing benefits to the intended recipients and communities while fostering economic stability and environmental conservation.

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