World Bee Day is celebrated on May 20 each year. This day seeks to raise awareness of the crucial role that pollinators, especially bees, play in our food security as well as in the functioning of ecosystems.
The native bee, or Melipona, is an important pollinating agent and thus contributes directly to the reproduction of trees and consequent renewal of forest and ecosystem stability. In the Amazon Region, if wild bees disappear, its biodiversity may be compromised, and important species such as açaí, Brazil nut, cocoa, cupuaçú and most fruits may be affected. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to monitor the decline in pollinating species and to prevent further biodiversity loss.
In addition, agriculture greatly benefits from the action of bees in food production, and in developing countries, honey produced by wild bees is part of the livelihood of forest-dependent people.
Beekeeping, or meliponiculture, has been supported in some of the projects funded by the Amazon Fund: one example is "Amazon´s Nectar", implemented by the Peabirú Institute, which started in 2014. The project aims to raise melipona bees, stingless species native to the Amazon. The extraction of honey from these bees is part of traditional local practices and is intended for food and for the popular pharmacy. 30 quilombola, indigenous, riverine and extractivist communities and over 100 families have benefited from the project, which has consolidated the honey production chain of native bees in the municipalities of Curuçá, Almeirim and Monte Alegre, in Pará State, and Macapá and Oiapoque, in Amapá State, representing around 5,000 boxes of bees.
For more information on this project, visit the Amazon Fund website, and/or watch this video from the Peabirú Institute.
Other projects supported by the Amazon Fund that also are involved in beekeeping, or meliponiculture:
- Portal Seeds – Phase II, Ouro Verde Institute (IOV)
- Amazônia Agroecológica Project, Federation of Agencies for Social and Educational Assistance (Fase)
- Mamirauá, Mamirauá Sustainable Development Institute (IDSM)
- Sustainable Bem Viver, Institute of Research and Indigenous Education (Iepé)
- Amazon Integrated Project, Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa)