Boeboe Village Has a More Challenging Path
Boeboe Village is located along the coast in Choiseul Province. The inhabitants, members of the Kamaboe tribe, have been partners with NRDF since 2012. The Kamaboe Tribal land is one of the larger project areas (about 6000 hectares) working with NRDF. Most of the people live in the village of Boeboe and the approximate population is about 262 of which 108 are female. Part of the Kamaboe land is the Guerre Forest Conservation area which comprises approximately 3000 hectares of mostly undisturbed primary forest (see Fig. 23.7). Besides beekeeping, the Tribeis involved in other aspects of NRDF’s work as well.
Beekeeping in Boeboe village started in 2013. Following NRDF’s protocol at the time, in the initial stage one central community farm with two (brood) boxes was set up. After a workshop and additional training a small committee of four persons was selected to start up the project and manage the two hives. The assumption was that the central community farm would initially harvest some honey to build up capital and then extend to individual honey farmers in the village.
However it soon became apparent that the central honey farm was not a success. The main reason for failure was that the farm lacked commitment or ownership; no one felt responsible for managing the hives. Additionally, beekeeping was new to Boeboe and so inexperience led to some mistakes being made when handling the hives. After about six months, NRDF decided to move the hives to a family of
Fig. 23.7 Land use map of Guerre conservation area with the village of Boeboe on the left. Light green are Mangroves, dark green proposed timber harvesting areas and brown some scattered gardens. Most of the Northern part of the area is conserved forest which one member had some experience with bee keeping. This change was for the better and within a year this family managed to split the hive in four new hives.
Although the number of farmers increased through splitting of hives, the production figures were far below expectations. In 2014 less than one liter of honey was produced by all four farmers combined. NRDF and the farmers suspected that the area around the village lacked the type of flowering vegetation bees collect nectar from. The area where the hives were located is surrounded by mangroves and some secondary growth forest and gardens. However, in 2015 the current six farmer families owning one hive each managed to increase their honey production to eight kg (six liters) and in the first quarter of 2016 already 14 kg (10 L) was harvested, suggesting that the honey production was not influenced by surrounding vegetation. An interesting observation in Boeboe (and in other areas) was the increase of flowering among trees and plants in and around the village. This increase seems to be associated with the introduction of the bees resulting in more and better pollination.
Through the lessons from Boeboe and Katazo, NRDF has decided to move away from the initial community farm model. Rather, the first step in a new village will be to identify the person(s) who has the right commitment and experience to start up the project. If those “champions” are successful and even have some harvest in six months, then new farmers families can be identified who can start a new farm.