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FEATURE STORYApril 5, 2022

In Benin, 100% Eco-Friendly Honey Production Curbs Deforestation and Bush Fires

Benin Eco-Friendly Honey Production

Three beekeepers from Kinnou-Kpanou returning from a visit to their hives. Benin 

© Gnona AFANGBEDJI/World Bank


  • In Benin, agricultural cooperatives offer equipment and training to their members to develop honey production and remediate deforestation
  • 560 beekeepers in the central and northern parts of the country have boosted their income through this alternative to logging
  • Planting cashew trees in combination with honey production has contributed to reforestation

KINNOU-KPANOU, Benin, April 5, 2022 — In the supermarkets of Cotonou, jars of “Flora” honey have been a real hit with consumers. But what city dwellers often do not realize is that by buying this natural product, which is packaged in the village of Komiguéa, more than 450 kilometers from the country’s economic capital, they are contributing to economic growth and helping to preserve the environment of an entire region.

The journey began about 10 years ago when the International Center for Tropical Apiculture (Centre Intégré d'Apiculture Tropicale, CIAT), which developed the Flora brand, began buying honeycomb directly from beekeepers’ cooperatives in central and northern Benin before packaging the product in small 30-centiliter jars and distributing them in the country’s major supermarkets. “We work with 76 cooperatives that we train to produce quality honey. We teach them good practices for managing beehives and processing honey, and we show them how to extract wax and propolis,” explained Sarigui Amadou, who heads up beekeeping operations at CIAT. “This is a sector that is really taking off, with better organized, better trained cooperatives that we are helping to ensure the traceability of their production.”

The project has not only provided us with training in production techniques, but it has also shown us the essential role of bees in the ecosystem and the importance of protecting them. Now, bees are no longer seen as an enemy but as a treasure, and we no longer have brush fires in our village.
Aliou Soulé
Head of production for the Kinnou-Kpanou beekeeping cooperative
Benin Eco-Friendly Honey Production

The honeycombs delivered by the beekeeping cooperative of Kinnou-Kpanou have to be processed in accordance with standardized procedures to ensure the quality of the finished product.

© Gnona AFANGBEDJI/World Bank

The Kinnou-Kpanou cooperative, located 400 km north of Cotonou, is made up of committed beekeepers who have learned to carry out their activities with respect for the ecosystem. “Before, we harvested wild honey, but we also uprooted trees and burned the brush, sometimes damaging our own crops,” said Douarou Chabi Massia, president of the Kinnou-Kpanou beekeeping group. “Now we earn money with beekeeping while at the same time protecting nature.”

Alternative to logging

This cooperative was created by the Increased Access to Modern Energy (IAME) project financed by the World Bank. The project, which closed in December 2018, aimed to increase the reliability and efficiency of modern energy services in Benin. One of its objectives was to promote sustainable management of forest resources in the middle and upper Ouémé basins. It is within this context that the project supported the creation of 28 honey cooperatives, bringing together 560 beekeepers. The training and equipment that they have received have provided them with a lucrative activity that is not dependent on logging.

Benin Eco-Friendly Honey Production

Members of the Kinnou-Kpanou cooperative in Benin are improving their income and protecting the forest through honey production. 

© Gnona AFANGBEDJI/World Bank

To enable them to develop their honey processing businesses, each cooperative member received about 20 Kenyan beehives, coveralls, boots, veils, gloves, smokers, and honey processing equipment. With an estimated annual income of CFAF 4.5 million, the 30-some members of the Kinnou-Kpanou cooperative derive substantial income from the production of honey and honey derivatives. The project also provided the cooperative with 7,000 cashew trees. “Thanks to these trees, we now have 70 hectares of cashew plantations, and in the five years that we have been harvesting cashews, we have earned more than CFAF 45 million,” stated Douarou Chabi Massia. “The project has not only provided us with training in production techniques, but it has also shown us the essential role of bees in the ecosystem and the importance of protecting them. Now, bees are no longer seen as an enemy but as a treasure, and we no longer have brush fires in our village,” added Aliou Soulé, head of production for the Kinnou-Kpanou beekeeping cooperative. 

Benin Eco-Friendly Honey Production

In the supermarkets of Cotonou, the jars of “Flora” honey produced by the Kinnou-Kpanou beekeepers have been a real hit with consumers.

© Gnona AFANGBEDJI/World Bank

When villagers are asked about the impact of the cooperative on their lives, testimonials abound. Odile Saré is proud to have built a sewing workshop for her daughter, thanks to the proceeds from honey sales. As proof that honey production is thriving, some members have gone from 20 hives at the start of the project to 50 hives acquired with their own funds. 

“Putting the hives under the trees has helped prevent brush fires. The vegetation has returned, and we have cashew trees everywhere in our villages,” explained an enthusiastic Orou Goura Amadou, president of the union of beekeepers in the commune of Tchaourou. 

This success has encouraged other communes to replicate the experience: the Energy Service Improvement Project (ESIP) will create 14 new honey production facilities and strengthen the 28 existing ones. “The establishment of cooperatives has brought great satisfaction, while also preserving the forest environment,” says Hubert Kouletio, ESIP biomass energy manager.    

In Kinnou-Kpanou and in the 27 other cooperatives, the pioneers are thinking big and want to go further by developing a partnership with CIAT to label their honey and thus raise the visibility of their business among consumers. 


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