Bees help family survive economic collapse in Afghanistan

"When Rustaq fell into the hands of the Taliban, the bees became my only means of supporting my family," said Zaidulkhair, who had received training and equipment for beekeeping from Mission East.

I read an amazing story from our work in Afghanistan today. A story that shows how important it is to provide people with a livelihood by teaching them to grow crops and keep livestock - or that which the wonderful news today is about: beekeeping.

Bees provided income in economic downturn

Zaidulkhair is a beekeeper. With help from Mission East, he has learned to produce honey, grow his business and feed his family of six people despite the country's economic downturn as a result of the Taliban's takeover in August.

There is not much money in circulation in the crisis-stricken country, after the takeover caused the international community to slam the door. But fortunately, bees are not dependent on cashflow and currency rates. They just produce honey, and when beekeepers know how to use and promote this trait, nature itself provides poor families with an income to live on.

From 2 to 12 hives

Zaidulkhair is 35 years old and lives in the Rustaq district of northeastern Afghanistan, where Mission East has been providing development assistance for over 20 years. He has always had an interest in beekeeping, so when Mission East offered to increase his knowledge and skills in the field, he jumped at the chance.

Today, he is extremely grateful for the two hives he received from Mission East along with wax, tools and protective equipment so he could start his business.

Since then, Zidulkhair has expanded his beekeeping to 12 hives and in 2021 managed to produce a total of 251 kg of honey, of which 130 kg of honey was sold, so he got a good income to support his family.

"When the Rustaq district fell into the hands of the Taliban, I lost my other sources of income, and the bees became my only means of supporting my family," he says.

Nature works along with us

It has motivated him to continue and expand his business:

“My dreams have come true, and I will now continue to expand my business further! Thanks to Mission East for supporting me and other entrepreneurs in the Rustaq District!”

Mission East also distributes money to help the most vulnerable families get food on the table. But when money is scarce - and it is in Afghanistan - it is good to know that land, livestock and bees also provide something to live on.

I was just so happy to read that. That nature works along with us. Despite a country's political and economic ups and downs.