Beekeeping fosters climate resilience

IKI honey made in Vietnam

IKI honey made in the Vietnamese province of Ha Tinh. Foto: GIZ

Climate change, like in many parts of the world is having a major impact on the natural environment in the mountainous province of Ha Tinh in Central Viet Nam, severely affecting agriculture. Rice, the main crop in this area, is only harvested once a year because of water shortages: while fruit trees, and annual crops, such as orange, peanut, maize, and green beans, have all been significantly impacted.

For people living in this region such as Pham Van Mao, climate change is directly responsible for food shortages – as his family used to face hunger for several months of the year. Like the other villagers in Son Tho Commune, he is also experiencing the effects of climate change; spells of extreme cold, droughts, and floods that have become common. This is where bees come into play, more precisely: beekeeping.

Farmers get into beekeeping

To support farmers to deal with the situation, in 2018, under the IKI project Strategic Mainstreaming of Ecosystem-based Adaptation in Viet Nam (EbA), beehives were purchased and trainings on beekeeping skills were provided for 54 households in Son Tho Commune. The project enabled farmers to diversify their sources of income, which increased their resilience to climate change.

Pham Van Mao being one of the participants trained on beekeeping, started off with five beehives, which he has now increased to 25. He is able to sell honey at good prices. Half of the 300kg collected annually is sold to merchants, while the other half is bought by local people as gifts for relatives living in the cities and by former residents visiting their hometown. He says, “My family currently earns around VND 24 million (approximately EUR 1, 000) annually from beekeeping. It has become the main source of income for my family. I spend the money to buy rice, improve the beehives, and invest in the farm.”

Beekeeping: additional income and a plus for nature conservation. Photo: GIZ

Networking of beekeepers in a cooperative

There are now 500 households keeping bees in Son Tho Commune. In recognition of the economic benefits beekeeping is bringing to the people, commune authorities are supporting the establishment of a beekeeping cooperative at commune level to connect beekeeper groups in the villages. The members meet regularly to share best practices, access market information, and discuss how to best promote and trade their products. Aside from providing additional income, beekeeping has a positive impact on food supply and nature conservation.

Continuing the project work

The successful work of the EbA project is continuing through the “Support to Viet Nam for the Implementation of the Paris Agreement (SIPA)”  project: supported by the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU). SIPA will support the implementation of ecosystem-based adaptation measures in Ha Tinh Province with a focus on climate-smart agriculture.