Uttar Pradesh, India
We believe that across the world the small-scale farmers growing around 70% of our world food supply can be the solution to the global food crisis. Research shows that traditional farming enhanced with ecological intensification can meet the rapidly growing global demand for food.
We were honoured to have the kind support of Dr. Chandra Srivastava, Director of the Department of Entomology and Agriculture Zoology, Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Banaras Hindu University (BHU), and Professor SVS Raju, head of Entomology at BHU, and All India Coordinator for the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
The support from BHU enabled the World Bee Project, in partnership with the Banwasi Seva Ashram, to establish 19 individual projects in villages suffering from climate change and the effects of chemical pollution from factories in the area.
Our short-term research pilot explored the impact of incorporating managed honeybees and attracting other pollinators into stressed agricultural landscapes.
Bees fly a distance of at least 3 kilometres to look for pollen and nectar - this means that pollination services from the 19 individual projects in 3 villages spread out to benefit over 460 small-scale farms and positively affected the lives of around 4600 individuals.
In order to proceed to the next phase and implement research in ecological intensification to counter the effects of climate change, we await the Banwasi Seva Ashram engaging the collaboration of the Institute of Agricultural Sciences and the Department of Entomology and Agriculture Zoology at BHU.
Our project shows that by teaching sustainable apiculture to small-scale family farmers in semi-arid areas affected by climate change, it is possible to enhance agricultural yields to provide more income, improve food and nutrition security, enable farmers to raise additional cash through the sale of honey, and create additional livelihood options through apiculture skills. Such outcomes enable families to improve their access to shelter, healthcare and education and improve the wellbeing of women farmers. Women are key players in agriculture but their contributions generally go unrecognised and they lack the same access to resources as men.
Our project initiated a cohesive trans-border community of more-confident farmers with a stronger sense of self-identity, taking pride in managing their lands and contributing to their environments. Farmers shared experiences of practical learning about pollinators and supported each other in pollinator- friendly actions and awareness of what pollinators need to survive and thrive given the challenges of climate change, when the monsoon rains come too late or too early, and temperatures soar beyond 40 degrees Celsius, scorching the fields and making forage scarce for pollinators.
We see that conservation goals can help achieve the basic human right to food, water, health, culture and an adequate standard of living, and empowering people to realise their rights can provide an enabling environment for meeting conservation objectives.