Beekeepers' livelihood is inextricably linked to climate. In Mexico, most smallholder beekeeping families are indigenous and located in climate change affected areas. These poorer beekeepers are the ones affected most by climate change yet are the least able to cope.
Beekeepers in Chiapas suffered from severe droughts during this year's honey season resulting in lower incomes for poor indigenous families. Chiapas is the poorest state in Mexico and home to 1.3 million indigenous people. This fall, WCCN provided a small grant to our partner, El Buen Socio Foundation, whose providing technical assistance and funding support to a cooperative of 40 indigenous beekeepers. El Buen Socio will help the cooperative member beekeepers migrate 200 beehives from Chenalho to Villaflores in Chiapas, Mexico. By placing the beehives in mango orchards that bloom in December, beekeepers will obtain a second honey harvest in the year and mango producers will benefit from increased pollination.
El Buen Socio has established collaborative relationships with 4 mango orchards willing to welcome the beehives, who understand the benefits they could receive from increased pollination and the importance of beekeeping. Migrating the beehives began in mid-October.
By carrying out this pilot demonstration project, El Buen Socio seeks to encourage thousands of other indigenous honey producers and smallholder farmers to collaborate to adapt to climate change, while improving their production and income using sustainable practices such as transhumance (moving beehives). El Buen Socio, with support from WCCN, is making sure that poverty does not have to mean lack of opportunity in Chiapas. Results from the project will be available in Spring 2018.