Sasamungga Bee Keepers Conference
In August 2017 NRDF held their first ever Annual Bee keeping farmers conference in Sasamungga in Choisuel Province, Solomon Islands. There were 30 participants who took part in the conference. The participants came from Choiseul and Western Provinces. There were ten (10) females and 20 male participants. All of the Choiseul based bee keepers are from the NRDF project sites. Some of the 6 Western Province participants are members of the PADSI (Positive Apiary Development Solomon Islands ) organization, which is the lead partner for bee keeping organizations in the country.
The theme of the Conference was: ”Quality and quantity with competency for a brighter and sustainable future”. The theme was very inspiring indeed, in that it led all the presentations into focusing on quality bee keeping and honey production, which will shape the bee keepers work ethics to become better farmers.
One great achievement for the entire conference was the queen grafting practical, where the beekeepers learnt for the first time how to make their own grafting tool using a feather, and making a queen cell by dipping a small stick about the width of the small finger into a pot of melted wax and cooling it in water instantly.
The participants learnt how to graft their own queens by transferring a day old larva into an artificial queen cell. At the conference our group successfully created a worker rich queenless nuc with a frame holding 10 of these queen cells, and then grafted the day old larvae into these cells. 24 hours later we discovered that the bees had accepted two of these cells, and were feeding the larvae royal jelly. They had extended the cells further using their own wax. It was exciting to learn how to create a new nuc this way!
Also one of the major achievements during the conference was the producing of the first ever Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the organization’s project sites. This SOP will guide each bee keeper into achieving quality honey in his or her farm which will enable them to export their products in the future.
The conference provided the perfect avenue for the bee keepers to exchange and learn from each other what they had been doing ever since they become a bee keeper.
To encourage more women to continue beekeeping, we handed out nine uniforms to be used by women in nine Choiseul villages.
A survey of 18 beekeepers after the conference found that 16/18 believed they would still be beekeeping in 10 years time (2 Maybe). One person commented – I do after this conference!
So we are very pleased with the outcomes and delivery of the conference theme, and look forward to providing more training and inspiration again next year.