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Ecological beekeeping, with its environmental benefits, economic and therapeutic potential, can be a substantial contribution to the preservation of the Congo Basin forests.
Relations between beekeepers and farmers in the Congo Basin are not always cordial, hence these complaints from beekeepers.
"During the dry season, some people clear their fields by setting fires. Sometimes the fire crosses and arrives in our sites." according to Albertine Nzewang, a beekeeper.
"So if the people of Loudima think that we made the bees leave Pointe-Noire to come and kill them, to prevent them from cultivating their fields. This is completely false. It's a problem of hatred and jealousy." added Alain Mvouity, another beekeeper.
The bee is special in the midst of other pollinators such as butterflies, birds, flies, bats, bumblebees, etc. By pollinating one third of all plants, they play an essential role in food security.
"Without bees, there is no forest, no food. We won't be talking about cassava after four years. We will disappear like flies...it's true...I assure you" Alain Mvouity, reiterated.
"Through beekeeping, I protect the environment. It contributes enormously to the biodiversity. The whole world needs bees. People cut down trees. But on the other hand, through modern beekeeping, we don't destroy the forest or cut down the woods." said Romaric Ngassedanga, supporting Alain's point.
Bee, this super pollinator, is also a great indicator of the quality of the environment. It does not tolerate pollution.
Better still, it represents a real alternative to the artisanal exploitation of the forest in terms of the income generated by the sale of honey and products derived from the hive such as royal jelly, wax, etc.
Juste Goma, a promoter for beekeeping, compares the production of honey with oil business.
"You know, a barrel of oil has a capacity of 159 litres. The 159 litres if you sell them, the most expensive today costs 100,000 CFA francs. But if you put 159 litres of honey in a barrel that you sell at the lowest price of 5000, you know what that does? That's seven, eight times more than a barrel of oil.
The ecological, socio-economic and therapeutic benefits of beekeeping are real, but largely ignored by the people living in the Congo Basin.
The challenge for authorities and citizens is to highlight these benefits.
The aim is to direct the population towards these resources and, in turn, to minimise the pressure on forest exploitation and thus give a chance to the preservation of the forest in the Congo basin.