Tonkolili District Beekeepers look forward to sweet success
Beekeepers in the Tonkolili District are enjoying the benefits of better training, support, and equipment, in a co-operative initiative launched by Memuna Forna, UK beekeeper and the sister of local business man, Sheka Forna.
The Honey Co-operative, which is formed of beekeepers from Rogbonko, Tonkolili, and Massagble villages will combine the best of traditional and modern beekeeping to produce high-quality local honey, beeswax candles, creams, and polishes.
Memuna Forna lives in London, England, and is a successful beekeeper, supplying shops in London and The Gambia with organic honey. While visiting family in Sierra Leone last year she was struck by the untapped potential of beekeeping in her homeland. She joined forces with her cousin – Morlai Forna, and mother – Mrs. Yabome Kanu, to set up a community project in order to encourage and develop local beekeeping.
“Beekeeping is an ideal activity for rural communities. It requires a relatively low investment of time and money, but it can make a significant contribution to family livelihoods,” she said. “It can be done by the old and young, by men and women, by the able-bodied and those with disabilities. In addition to honey, beekeepers can extract and use the beeswax, a very valuable by-product.”
The Honey Co-operative will be supplying honey as well as beeswax candles, creams and polishes to select local outlets throughout Sierra Leone. Strict quality and hygiene controls will ensure the quality of their produce. Ms. Forna stated, “We will extract the best honey and filter it naturally several times to ensure its purity. It will be nature’s food at its best – 100% organic, 100% natural – nothing added.”
She concluded with her belief that the honey and beekeeping sector in Sierra Leone has a strong future. “World demand for honey is strong and suppliers can barely keep up with demand. With strong healthy bees; abundant forests; and local beekeepers with a wealth of knowledge and skills, there is no reason why Sierra Leonean honey cannot, one day take advantage of these international opportunities.”
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