THE HONEY PROJECT

    The Significance of Honey     

   
Honey is an important nutritional component of the Pygmies’ diet and is also used in medicinal remedies, making it essential to their lifestyle as hunter-gatherers. Its collection and consumption holds great symbolic value as a means to purify the soul and plays a role in bee-glorifying rituals. As a gift, it is treasured far more than clothing and other material goods that we place greater value on in the West.
    
 

   


Gathering honey is seasonal, taking place for two to four months annually, but several factors threaten this time-honoured agricultural practice.
    


    The Threats    

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For one, the Bantu greedily seek honey to sell commercially, firmly placing their own selfish interests ahead of the Pygmies, who take only what is needed for survival. Deforestation as a result of logging, mining, the oil industry, and increasing numbers of people fleeing conflict also diminishes the population of bees and consequently the availability of honey.​​

Traditional methods of gathering honey involve burning the hives, which destroys the bee colonies within. This renders the traditional method both unsustainable and dangerous, as the mission involves climbing tall trees without protection from the onslaught of angry bees who deliver multiple (and sometimes deadly) stings.     
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Upon completion of the film, our goal is to introduce a sustainable beekeeping program (a practice known as apiculture) in order to accomplish the following:
    
  • To integrate the Pygmies’ honey production into the national and international labour market as a way to promote sustainable development in the Congo Basin
  • To boost the Pygmies’ income and independence from the Bantu by enabling them to become owners of their honey enterprise
  • To circumvent poaching and deforestation by creating an alternative activity
  • To preserve an important material element in the Pygmies’ culture​​
    
    

    Our Goal​