26 Jan 2016
Kabylia region, Algeria
Organic Food and Agriculture

The mountains in northern Algeria’s Kabylia region rise well over 2,000 meters, towering along the Djurdjura mountain range. Here, beekeeping is a traditional, ancient activity, and one that contributes invaluable means to the local ecosystem and economy.

It is a practice worth protecting, and that is one of the goals of the Apiary School of Djurdjura.

A project with many missions:

The school was launched in 2013 by the Association for the Promotion of Mountain Apiculture (APMA). The goal of that association is to educate locals about the importance of environmental protection, and contribute to regional economic development. The apiary school checked both of those boxes, and the manufacturing of environmentally-friendly products earns residents income while also instilling a sense of value for honeybee products.

An ecological beekeeping project high in the Algerian mountains | The Switchers

Of course, as its name suggests, the institution is also a beekeeping school. In its classrooms, students learn about beekeeping techniques, combined with an instilling of environmental values.

Bees have an essential role to play in the survival of many plant species and are responsible for pollinating 80% of flowering plants. “Through this project, we value the fundamental role of bees in pollinating flowers and crops,” says Hamama Saada, secretary-general of the APMA.

Despite their importance, the existence of bees and their hives is threatened by the massive use of pesticides.

The Apiary School of Djurdjura wants its students to learn beekeeping practices that exclude the use of damaging chemicals. As an alternative, hive health is maintained through medicinal herbs such as thyme and rosemary. The resulting products are not only honey, but also royal jelly, pollen, and propolis, a mixture used for antiseptic purposes. Once created, the school’s organic bee products are sold at fairs organized by the APMA.

Engaging in the region:

In addition to creating a variety of organic bee products, the Apiary School of Djurdjura is an engine for local economic development through the creation of jobs. It has developed agro-tourism and educational days for the surrounding communities, where people go to learn more about the bee’s environment, the products of the hive, and the apiary profession.

An ecological beekeeping project high in the Algerian mountains | The Switchers

The school also hosts training for disadvantaged young women in the region, helping them develop micro beekeeping projects. Through the combination of environmental well-being and traditional knowledge, the Apiary School of Djurdjura aims to improve the living conditions of local families — and bees — in this mountainous region.

 

Website: http://lerucherecoledudjurdjura.blogspot.ca

Photos: Courtesy of Rucher-école du Djurdjura

Rucher-école du Djurdjura Organic food and agriculture
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