Newly-formed cooperative helps beekeepers in Afghanistan

Excellent results with a beekeeping project in the Afghan province of Takhar encourages Mission East to take a step further to help its 50 apiculture beneficiaries create a business enterprise.

By Namik Heydarov, Province Manager, Takhar Province

The newly formed "Shohada Beekeeping and Agricultural Cooperative" will help beekeepers from the district of Chaal to market their honey both locally and in the district centre.

In 2008, Mission East decided to help families in Chaal improve their poor diets and household food security as part of a large-scale rural assistance project. One of the components was the provision of beekeeping tools and training in order to enable vulnerable families to produce honey for family consumption.

These 50 new beekeepers together with another four from a neighbouring village have now joined together to improve the sale of the honey that enables them to afford food, medicine, clothes and other necessities for their families.

Unimaginable success
The very first results of the apiculture project were more than encouraging. The new beekeepers not only managed to extract sufficient honey for domestic consumption but also sold some to the neighbouring villages.

60-year-old Nagshbi, who is now a member of the "Shohada Beekeeping and Agricultural Cooperative" never imagined how beekeeping could change his life and the life of his family:

"I cared for the beehives to the best of my ability. But I did it mostly out of respect for Mission East. When it was time to extract I only brought a one litre plastic bottle to collect the honey. I was amazed to see that my bees brought ten kilograms of honey that day. I rushed to my neighbours to ask for extra bottles. Never could I imagine being able to extract so much honey," says Nagshbi, who later trained his wife in beekeeping.

A renewed commitment
The success of the beekeepers’ cooperative has intensified Mission East’s commitment to supporting this type of business strategy in Afghanistan. Mission East is committed to providing all the necessary technical and financial assistance to this newly formed association and is planning to organize additional small and medium enterprise trainings for the cooperative. The trainings will take place in collaboration with GTZ (German Technical Cooperation).

February 2009