Agriculture is essential for the survival and livelihood of people living in  rural Nepal and is now threatened by global warming and economic challenges.

To address these risks, Karuna-Shechen has launched a new beekeeping training program, aimed at strengthening the economic resilience of communities through the benefits of this practice. 

The art of keeping bees to produce honey, wax and other by-products “pollinates” economic development in a sustainable way, offering communities new financial, ecological and food prospects.

Bee-keeping is an ideal economic development focus for our rural communities. It aligns with our environment preservation efforts, integrates well with existing agricultural practices, and can provide a reliable income stream from selling honey.

Ranjit Kumar Majhi, agro technician at Karuna-Shechen

Beekeeping, a promising initiative

Playing a crucial role in diversifying farmers’ incomes and encouraging entrepreneurship, beekeeping has become a key component of Karuna’s economic development program in Nepal. It is also part of our ecological initiatives, as it promotes the protection of ecosystems

Through the beekeeping program, participants are trained in all aspects of beekeeping, from bee breeding to hive construction and honey harvesting. The equipment they need to pursue their activities is provided, and farmers can also rent bee colonies.

So, with bees as their allies, communities are shaping a sustainable future. Beekeeping is a stable investment for rural families that may protect them from some of the current  challenges facing traditional agriculture.

Towards greater economic stability

In addition to honey production, beekeeping also improves crop yields through pollination (the fertilization of flower pistils by pollen). All this while providing a new source of income. 

Not only do beekeeping products fetch higher prices than traditional agricultural products, they also have a longer shelf life.

In addition, renting out colonies of bees can be a way for farmers to encourage pollination, thereby boosting yields.

Netra Bahadur, farmer, explains : “When I first heard about their training program, I was admittedly hesitant. Keeping bees seemed intimidating for a traditional farmer like myself. But I also saw it as a chance to finally get ahead financially in a way farming alone has not allowed.

Beekeeping, the guardian of the ecosystem

Beyond its direct economic impact, beekeeping is also an ecologically sustainable practice. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, beekeeping can have a beneficial effect on the environment by promoting pollination, which  increases the productivity of surrounding forest and agricultural ecosystems. 

In this way, bee colonies promote biodiversity by ensuring the reproduction of numerous plant species, boosting the region’s overall production while maintaining environmental balance. 

Bees thus play an important role in many aspects of our lives, including nature conservation, food security and nutrition, and they can promote both economic prosperity and environmental preservation. 

This holistic approach enables entire communities to flourish while preserving their natural environment.

Beekeeping is therefore an integral part of a sustainable development approach, reconciling economic prosperity with environmental preservation.

Expanding opportunities

The promising beekeeping initiative launched as part of Karuna’s economic development program is enabling local farmers to acquire the skills and resources they need to take up this lucrative activity.

Chali Maya Magar, farmer, shares her experience : “The promising beekeeping initiative launched as part of Karuna’s economic development program is enabling local farmers to acquire the skills and resources they need to take up this lucrative activity.”

One of the main activities was a comprehensive beekeeping training course. It lasted five days and took place from November 22 to 26, 2023 in Chitwan. Organized in collaboration with the Beekeeping Development Center, it enabled 17 farmers and 3 agricultural technicians to be trained in: 

  • Bee colony management; 
  • Honey production techniques; 
  • The use of bees for pollination services.

In addition to the training, each farmer in Karuna’s program received four beekeeping equipment kits, two of which contained live bee colonies.

Thanks to this material support and the advice provided, the farmers have everything they need to develop and profit from  their new skills. 

The beekeeping program reflects our commitment to the development of communities for and by their residents.

It equips rural populations with the tools they need to achieve economic self-sufficiency, and promotes the empowerment of farmers. 

By encouraging local entrepreneurship and integrating sustainable practices, this program paves the way for a promising and more equitable future for many rural communities.

In those early days, finding the time to tend to the beehives while also keeping up with all my other farm work was definitely a challenge. But remembering all the methods from the training, I quickly developed a system that allowed me to effectively manage both. And my crops were instantly more productive thanks to the bees’ pollination!

Chitra Bhadur Lungeli, farmer