Beekeepers are playing a role in sustaining both the biodiversity of the largest national park in Ghana and the communities that live around the park’s protected area. The Mole National Park in northern Ghana is home to iconic African mammals, such as African elephants, gazelles, and monkeys, but it also has economically important shea and dawadawa trees1.
Sustainable beeswax production offers benefits to communities in the short and long term. The Jelinkon Community Resources Management Area (CREMA) recently signed a long-term agreement with Koster Keunen West Africa to work together to produce and purchase sustainable beeswax. The careful collaboration between the local population and the leading beeswax producer in West Africa creates an excellent boost to the rural economy around the national park.
Creating Structures that Support and Respect Producers
In the Mole National Park, poverty and high population in nearby communities has created pressure on the forest, particularly on biodiversity2. The Coalition for Development of Northern Ghana (NORTHCODE) is working to promote biodiversity while preserving the livelihoods of rural people around the protected area3. It is precisely this combination that Bees of Africa is meant to address. One of the pillars of the program is to preserve biodiversity. Beekeepers, through their cooperatives, pledge to respect threatened or endangered species and maintain or even enhance natural forest.
In turn, the beekeepers receive fair, living wages, transparent contracts, and both farmers and collectors are protected. Equality is also a pillar of the program, which is important to the Jelinkon CREMA agreement, as more than half of the beekeepers and organic farmers in the area are women. Opportunity must be part of the workplace ethos, and safety must be respected. In addition to raising the standard of beekeeping practices, the standards for the beekeepers’ own protections and earnings are improved.
Extending the Gift of Sustainability
At Koster Keunen, we are grateful for the opportunity to participate directly with our Bees of Africa partners to enhance the viability of beekeeping and promoting sustainable rural development. Respect for the beekeepers and for the land underlies our commitment to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.
The whole Koster Keunen family wishes you a joyful holiday season, full of peace, love, and deep appreciation for one another and the world we share. Please contact us if we can help your organization meet its 2022 sustainability goals.