14 indigenous youths trained in beekeeping as part of Barima Mora ecosystem protection project

Some of the youths in Region One being trained in beekeeping

The Guyana Marine Conservation Society (GMCS) has partnered with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to implement the Barima Mora ecosystem protection project, titled “Securing the Future of Guyana’s Barima Mora Passage Mangrove Ecosystems and its Indigenous Peoples.”

The objective of the project is to develop a framework to secure and finance the protection of the Barima Mora’s unique ecosystem, while working with Indigenous people and migrants that live within or near this site in order to build awareness of the importance of the mangrove.

The Barima Mora Passage, located on Guyana’s Region One (Barima-Waini) coastline close to the Venezuelan border, hosts the most intact and mature mangrove ecosystem in the country. The mangroves and surrounding systems are under threat from various external and local factors, which include climate change, land speculation in coastal areas, contamination from extractive sectors, increased levels of land clearing for farming and housing, as well as unsustainable wildlife trapping, hunting, and fishing.

The solution proposed consists of four interlocking elements: recognition of the Barima Mora area as a United Nations World Heritage site; promoting local community awareness on the importance of mangroves and their ecosystem services; training and support in new green livelihoods such as research tourism, beekeeping, and eco-services; and a framework to attract financing via a blue carbon compensation mechanism which can be managed and invested at community levels to sustain local delivery of eco-services conservation monitoring, and sustainable management of the ecosystem.

An IDB Lab contribution will be made to the tune of US$850,000 in non-reimbursable technical cooperation, with a counterpart contribution of US$850,000. These IDB Lab resources will be utilized primarily for technical studies, training, and livelihood support in entrepreneurship, conservation, surveillance, and monitoring and development of research tourism; as well as building a framework for sustainable financing over a 4-year period of intervention.

The Barima Mora Passage Mangrove Ecosystem

The project is divided into three components: community and stakeholder sensitisation and engagement; training and support for green enterprise development and green jobs; and component and development of ecosystem management and monitoring systems.
One of the key objectives under Component Two (training and support for green enterprise development) is to connect persons in the Barima Mora Passage, particularly women and girls, with skills development as well as the resources to facilitate their transition from subsistence or no-livelihood activities to sustainable and green entrepreneurship, and jobs that are directly connected to the conservation and sustainable management of the mangrove ecosystem.

Honey production

To achieve this objective, one focus is on honey production and small-scale manufacturing of derived products, as the mangroves are a natural habitat for bees. The Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), through the Agriculture Ministry, which has responsibility for apiculture development and management in Guyana, was approached to assist the GMSC with undertaking the development of the apiculture enterprise under the Project.

The one-day training on capacity building for prospective beekeepers drawn from Imbotero, Aruka and Morawhanna villages in Region One was conducted by Colin de Jesus on behalf of the GLDA, and was facilitated by Basudeo Dwarka, who is the Extension Manager of the GLDA. A total of 14 participants, eight of which were females, were trained in beekeeping.

This training report on Phase One of the beekeeping project focused on the commencement of the apiculture training for the identified participants. This report also covered the inspection and feasibility analysis carried out for the placement of hives in the three communities, as well as the pre-location placement of the bees after transportation from Georgetown.

The areas examined along the road: Wauna–Morawhanna Stretch, are not convenient for the housing of the bees, due to heavy trafficking and movement along the roads. All of the areas examined along the creek and river have the potential for housing the hives. However, some areas may require the construction of “logies” to accommodate the bees and protect the hives from the weather, thus allowing it to be mounted from the sloppy underfoot conditions. The cost of constructing the “logie” is estimated at $50,000 each.

Chairman of Region One (Barima-Waini), Brentnol Ashley, welcomed the opportunity for the region to be a pioneer in this initiative, in order to increase the financial disposition and economic opportunity for the young people of the region, more so the Barima Mora Passage.
He further pointed out that this is the way Government operates, and will continue to provide opportunities for the young people of the Region as part of their mandate in serving the people of Guyana.

The GMCS is a non-governmental, charitable, non-profit organization established in 2000 with the dedicated intention to conserve and manage Guyana’s marine biodiversity in partnership with the coastal communities. GMCS envisions a future in which diverse marine populations in Guyana are secure and thriving, sustained by healthy habitats and co-managed by coastal communities.