The training, which brought together participants from different parts of the country including Upper River Region, was organised by BeeCause Gambia with strategic support from Waterloo.
The training was among others meant to enhance participants’ skills on professional beekeeping and market analysis for promoting bee farming at all levels for socio-economic development of local bee farmers.
The objective of the training, according to the organisers, was to develop the capacity of ten bee farmers on beehive building and setting and to develop their capacity on market analysis and development approach using the experience of market analyses.
Speaking to The Point in an interview, Dan Socha, BeeCause Gambia country manager, commended the participants for responding to their call, saying the active participation of participants in the training was a clear indication of their commitment.
He noted that the importance attached to the training could not be over-emphasised, as at the end of the training, it was expected that the trainees would have a broad understanding of overall beekeeping techniques and market analysis.
According to him, in 2009 Bee Farming started as a small group to promote bee farming in The Gambia with a lot of people started as volunteers and later become staff of the farm.
The identification and selection of bee farmers for capacity building training was done by BeeCause Gambia through the network of Bee Farmers, he said.
They also relied on Peace Corps to identify and provide selected bee farmers to be trained since they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, he added.
He noted that training for new bee farmers (first timers) and refresher training for old members is very important since it provides them up-to-date life skills for sustainable bee farming in The Gambia.
According to him, some of the benefits in bee farming are provision of livelihood for many people within the area through job creation and environmental protection through eco-friendly farming techniques.
He said: “At BeeCause Gambia, we provide technical and theoretical instructions in beekeeping to support rural farmers so that they could be successful in beekeeping, promoting and supporting beekeeping for improved livelihoods and sustainable development, and also to foster and support The Gambia’s beekeeping industry, through a market-oriented approach to sustainable development.”
Dan Socha added: “The gains and benefits that are derived from engaging in Bee farming are quite significant, and can help one to attain sustainable living conditions.”
For his part, Modou Ndour, an expert in beekeeping training, honey production and harvesting, who doubles astraining assistant, dilated on the significance of beekeeping business, saying the labour involved “is very minimal and it is a viable business that can earn one a lot of income within a very short period of time”.
He also stressed the need for people to involve in the beekeeping business for the development of the country.
The training course comprised skills acquisition, building beehives, and production, forest protection and conservation techniques, among others.
He added that beekeeping is another method of farming, and honey is very important to human health, because it has several medicinal values.
He said: “It serves as an antibiotic. For example, it is used in cough syrup for children and adults, and for income-generation ventures as demand for honey is high.”
According to him, bee wax is used to make cosmetics such as lip shine, body lotion, soap, candles, and shoe polish.
Mr Ndour spoke about the importance of women’s participation in beekeeping, adding that women participation is very important in bee farming and the need for modern day technology to operate is crucial.
According to him, it would ensure high productivity as compared to the procedures used before; thus it would also ensure high income for beekeepers.
Ebrima Sanno of Kantora Sami Koto echoed similar sentiments, while calling on the youths to engage in meaningful economic activities, such as bee farming for livelihood improvement and self-reliance.
The training course, he added, was quite relevant and timely, as it would go a long way in boosting the living condition of the people, and thereby reducing poverty.
He assured organizers of the training that the knowledge gained from the session would be shared with other youths and women in his community who did not have the opportunity to attend the training.