FAO in Afghanistan

Beekeeping to diversify livelihoods

A beekeeper in Herat province supervises a beehive. ©FAO/Ahmad Shah Siqqiqi

FAO supports beekeeping farming in Afghanistan’s Herat province to enhance rural livelihoods thanks to Japan’s funding

Farmers at the Kushk district (also referred to as Rabat-e-Sangi), north of Herat province in western Afghanistan, generally depend on rainfed farming and livestock farming. Beekeeping farming is not widely practiced in the district. This is mostly due to the combination of the lack of knowledge and the fact that few rural inhabitants can afford the tools and resources required for this practice.

FAO identified some of the most vulnerable farming households in the district to support them with livelihood diversification employment opportunities through beekeeping farming.

“Beekeeping is an excellent option for rural livelihood diversification. It can help alleviate poverty in rural households, protect biodiversity and support food security,” said Kaustubh Devale,  Emergency and Resilience Officer for FAO in Afghanistan. A total of 38 farmers across 23 villages in Kushk district were selected to receive beekeeping support. Japan funded this project, aiming to improve and diversify rural livelihoods in the region.

The farmers attended a four-day training on beekeeping best practices to attain the necessary skills to dive into beekeeping, honey processing and its marketing. Each farmer received a complete beekeeping startup kit. The package included two beehives (each containing 18 000 to 20 000 honeybees), two blank hives, three honey extractors, two feeders, two buckets, one smoker, one brush, one fork, one veil, 50 kg of sugar, 1 kg of wax, medicine and one beekeeping suit at the end of the training.

Saleh’s new honey

Saleh Mohammad was supported by FAO through this initiative. He is satisfied with the quantity of honey he has produced. Despite the drought and reduced rainfall throughout the district, Saleh Mohammad collected 54 kg honey during the spring season. He could sell the total honey for around USD 550. This additional income can help Saleh expand his beekeeping business and support his family for at least three months.

Most of the people in the region are unaware that beekeeping and processing hive products can be just as profitable. Saleh used some of his earnings from beekeeping to purchase fodder crop seeds like alfalfa and clover. Clover species offer desirable resources to honeybees. He also employed another person from the village to help him with running the business.

Saleh wishes to expand his honey business further to promote beekeeping in the region and increase his income. “Beekeeping is good business and helps improve the farmers’ economic situation,” he said.