CESMACH members participating in food security workshops.
CESMACH wanted to add more beekeepers and convert their home beekeeping project into a commercial enterprise to increase honey production for export. We provided planning, monitoring systems, business development and financial systems planning, training, materials, and capacity-building for the organization to help them ramp up and turn beekeeping into a successful business venture. Along with honey, they’re now marketing other bee products like pollen, wax and propolis. Bees have delivered another important benefit to CESMACH coffee farmers: their pollination services are increasing yields and quality of coffee and food crops.
Our partnership goal is to help the co-op grow and professionalize their beekeeping program. CESMACH’s beekeeping ranks have now grown to 86, with all participants using organic methods, and in 2019, honey production increased by 95 percent, to 45,000 pounds.
- Develop “apiary school” and communal training
- Finance new businesses: each beekeeper receives hives and purchases supplies through short term, low interest loan managed by the co-op
- Formalize a separate honey business entity, “Real de Triunfo,” under the CESMACH umbrella
- Create monitoring and evaluation systems, train cooperative staff to track progress and impact.
Our implementing partner here is Ecosur. This ecological college in Chiapas conducts scientific research in southern Mexico, with a focus on environmental, economic, and social problems, and sustainable development. Together, we’ve conducted surveys of all participants and their families, integrated the information into the design of the program, and have now completed 5 years of technical and business training, for both families and the CESMACH organization. Their beekeepers are successful and more families are waiting to join this new venture.