Trees, Bees and Honey
Deforestation is a huge problem in Afghanistan and partially responsible for the crippling drought of recent years. Forests help regulate ground water levels. Countless trees were destroyed during the 25 years of war and entire forests cleared, often falling victim to the "scorched earth" policy repeatedly adopted by the various warring parties. The fertile Shamalie Plain north of Kabul was once well known for its fruit plantations, but most of them were destroyed by the Taliban. Shelter Now gives out young fruit trees to local families for a token price. The plantations serve a number of purposes: they are an integral part of the "ground water management program" for the region, they provide the family with nutritious fruit to eat, and all the surplus can be sold off to supplement the family's income.
Bees and Honey
Fruit trees and bees of course go well together. The bees not only gather nectar from the blossoms, they also help to fertilize them, thus producing a richer harvest.
Honey is highly prized in Afghanistan for its nutritional value and is therefore extremely expensive. Most honey is imported. So there is a market for domestic production and even for export.
Shelter Now provides training for Afghan families in beekeeping and honey production. Together the new and the existing fruit plantations provide sufficient feeding and collection grounds for the bees. The region is also home to many wild flowers in spring and summer.
We select families who have little or no income and provide them with 5 colonies of bees each and an extractor with which they can remove the honey from the honeycomb. We also provide the necessary training. After one year, when the bees have reproduced, one new bee colony is given back to the project so that new families can benefit from the scheme.
A bee colony including a hive costs 135 US dollars.
Additionally there are expenses for the training, medication and the transport of the bees into their winter camp.