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Common name          Bee-keeping

Scientific name       Apis mellifera

These small flying insects of various sizes are closely related to wasps and ants. They are well-known the world over for honey production but naturally, their major role to humanity is the process of pollination-when they transport pollen from one flower to the next flower of the same plant or a different plant of the same or different species-thereby enabling the maintenance of biodiversity in the plant kingdom. There are over 20,000 species of bees on earth, whose location is contingent with the different climatic conditions and vegetation distribution around the world. Common bee species in Zimbabwe include the common honey bee, bumble bees, sweat-bees and sting-less bees-all of which feed on nectar (energy source) and pollen (protein source) and build their hives or honeycombs out of wax, unlike their wasp counterparts which use a paper material. Humans derive value out of various bee species, but mainly the honey bee, in the form of honey, bee wax, nectar, and royal jelly-which are then processed into various consumer and industrial-cum-scientific products.

The process of pollination, which is facilitated by bees-very important in food production because most food around the world is derived from the processing of crop fruit and seeds, without whose formation in the life-cycle of plant development there would not be plant propagation and food production. The importance of bees to world food security is therefore self-evident.

The situation prevailing however, is not so promising for world food production, as the bee population continues to decline and Zimbabwe continues to produce inadequate food for its population-not just as a result of the shortage of rainfall, fertilizers, mechanization, and farming skills but also the dwindling natural pollinators of the various crops our farmers grow. Bees, as pollinators, play a crucial role in us realizing the full potential of the crops developed and grown for food production under a constantly varying global climate.

Bee populations are fast dwindling and this is also one of the factors threatening the ability of the world’s agriculture to support an ever-increasing world population. Reasons for the dwindling of the bee population are varied in Zimbabwe but include such factors as a depressed source of food because trees are being cut at faster rates than they are planted-they provide flowers at different types of the year, monoculture cropping tends to exclude bee species which depend on the vegetation cleared for growing the crops, vertebrate and invertebrate predators ( wasps, small animals and birds are faced with reduced food sources due to climate change linked precursors), and diseases (old and new as a result of global warming), growing of unprotected field crops on an increased scale to feed the population under conditions giving rise to the emergence of new pests and diseases which require new types of stronger chemicals (global warming is also facilitating the emergence of resistance to agro-chemicals by pests and diseases)-such as leaf-miner, red spider mite and worms in Zimbabwe.

At iQFarmer, we believe in approaching agriculture and food production holistically in the face of climate change, meaning that the survival of bees and their multiplication is also viewed as a corner-stone in addressing the problem of climate-triggered food shortages. As such, it is key to consider and include bees in projects and processes meant to address the three pillars of climate change.

The iQFarmer beekeeping manual will introduce you to the value chain of cotton farming, and the cropping program will also give you a production cost analysis for decision making:

Download Bee-keeping Manual


Download Bee-keeping Program