How the sweet sound of buzzing bees changed the tune of one Uzbek woman’s life

Modern equipment and training ensure traditional livelihoods can provide for rural households

Once afraid of bees, Gulhayo Khaydarova is now an expert beekeeper, known locally for the quality honey she extracts.

©FAO/Guzal Fayzieva


Morning breaks in the village Durmon, a quiet hamlet in the Bukhara region of southern Uzbekistan. There is no bustle of a big city. The only sounds are of chirping of birds and the humming of peaceful nature.

This is the setting for an ordinary day in the life of Gulhayo Khaydarova, a 35-year-old native of Durmon. She begins her work even before the sun rises, like her grandmothers and great-grandmothers used to do before her.

Sweep the yard; milk the cow; feed the chickens: this is Gulhayo’s to-do list for the morning. She then cooks breakfast and sends the children, two boys, off to school.

After the children leave, it's time to turn to her other job. Though she would never have guessed it before, Gulhayo has been in beekeeping for many years now, and the natural honey she produces is famous throughout the village.

In the Khaydarov family, the traditions and secrets of beekeeping are passed down from generation to generation. Her father-in-law, Ravshan, knows this business inside and out.

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