My name is Raul Antonio Herrera, a member of the Beekeepers Cooperative of Choluteca and Valle (COAPICH), in southern Honduras. I am a relatively new beekeeper; a year ago I started as a beekeeper with a small number of hives. Given my lack of experience in the industry and lack of technical assistance I had many problems handling my apiary and honey production was very low.
Pests and diseases decimated my hives and finally I was left with 3 double and 2 single hives. I was very discouraged with beekeeping, had largely neglected the remaining hives and did not want to invest more resources.
Even though I heard stories of very successful beekeepers and many comments that the south is very good for the production of honey, did not know how to become a beekeeper. I think I have a vocation for the business and some resources that I can invest but was afraid of losing them.
Through some fellow partners at COAPICH, I found out that Heifer would execute a project with the cooperative to support beekeeping with USDA-SAG-IICA Food for Progress Program funds. That thrilled me so much because I've always wanted to train in the field. I visited the project office and spoke to the technicians, I mentioned my desire to get training and they told me that they would include me in the training.
Shortly thereafter they visited my apiary and gave me recommendations for improvement. I then participated in a training on basic beekeeping, where I learned a lot about pests and hive diseases, apiary hygiene, how to make nuclei and split hives to have growth in the apiary, we was also taught how to feed the hives in time shortage of nectar and how to check the hives including the brood chamber.
With the new knowledge and technical assistance provided by the project I was motivated and started to put into practice everything I learned. I improved the population of the five existing hives and when they grew, I put rises to the simple hives and divided the doubles, and with that I completed eight hives. Then I ventured to buy 10 double hives and so reached 18. Now I've divided again and have a total of 22 hives of which 17 are doubles and 5 singles.
At the end of November 2013 I harvested my apiary and obtained a production of 130 bottles of honey. At the moment I've moved the apiary to an area where there are many salamo flowers, among others. I hope at the end of January 2014 to return to harvest and I think I might have approximately 100 bottles of honey.
I am grateful to Heifer, SAG, IICA and USDA for this timely support for beekeepers in Choluteca. I will now generate income for my family with the production of honey. I do not have a job but live off my own work and beekeeping becomes another source of income. I may employ others and produce healthy food for the population that needs