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Global Ideas

Nepal works to boost local bees

Though the Asian honeybee is perfectly suited to conditions in Nepal, it's been partially squeezed out by its European counterpart. Now beekeepers are working to replace lost colonies of local bee species.

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Project goal: to protect the diversity of bee species
Implementation: training and certifying beekeeping farmers in the Hindukush-Himalaya region by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD)
Project size: 534 households in 12 villages, similar projects in neighboring countries
Project volume: 940,000 Euros from the Austrian development agency

The European honeybee is considered to be hardworking and efficient. It also produces significantly more honey than its Nepali counterpart. That's why it was introduced into the mountainous country in the 1990s – with unforeseen, far-reaching consequences. The insects brought with them parasites that have nearly decimated the local, Asian honeybee colonies. Bee expert Uma Partap is fighting to save the local species and is training farmers in modern breeding methods to protect their insects. The cultivation of a monoculture and the use of pesticides have also led to the loss of the Asian honeybee. But now, populations are slowly recovering. That's crucial because the insects pollinate important plants and crops that are avoided by the European honeybee.

A film by Wolf Gebhardt

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