Honey makes the world go ’round


In 2005, Andrew Coté found himself in northern Iraq, walking
hand-in-hand with a Kurdish beekeeper. This was not some Bush-era
publicity stunt to put a gloss of false friendship over the country’s
violent reality. Coté and Khorsheed Ahmed, his new friend, shared rich
common ground: They both practice the noble but endangered craft of
beekeeping. Coté was on Ahmed’s territory to work with the Kurds to
improve their operations and enrich their livelihoods.

For more than 10 years, Coté and his nonprofit, Bees Without Borders,
have traveled the developing world, finding ways for beekeepers from
Nigeria to Moldova to Fiji to increase their profits by making simple
changes. For instance, Ahmed and his fellow beekeepers had too many
colonies crowded in one area without adequate sources of nectar or water
to support them all, leading to weak hives and poor crops. Or, said
Coté, “Most beekeepers discard valuable byproducts such as wax and
propolis from their hives. These represent a great cache of value-added
products,” and can be a key supplement to income from honey and
pollination services, especially for families living close to the edge.

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