Juan Jose Quintanilla and Maria Francisca Blandon: For the Love of Bees
“It is not just about producing honey, but also about protecting the bees. There are people who don’t look after these little creatures, but they are protected here. There are people who only produce honey to sell, but they don’t take the time to look after them. We do, however.”
Maria Francisca Blandon is sitting opposite her hives as she talks about them with pleasure and respect.
The existence of pollinating bees is essential for the continuation of biodiversity, of our lives. Perhaps Maria Francisca may not use these exact words, but her knowledge goes beyond them.
Maria and her husband began beekeeping 10 years ago. Today, they have 70 hives together with coffee and basic grain production. They live in El Cua, in the Province of Jinotega. Despite their great experience, climate change is also affecting them; “three years ago, the rains were so heavy that I lost 10 hives that year. As we Nicaraguans say, I almost hung up my gloves because we had only 20 hives that year, and I lost half of them. Although I fed the hives, the weather was too rainy. In other years, it is the drought that affects us.
The change in weather pattern is one of the things that has the greatest impact on producers and beekeepers all over the world. Not knowing when it is going to rain or how much stops them from being able to take the right decisions and causes them to lose yield and earnings. “If we have a low honey yield then we will certainly not have the necessary income to maintain our families,” recognises Juan Jose.
But thanks to the Adapta Project, the farmers are periodically receiving weather bulletins specific to the zones where they live, together with recommendations specifically for cacao and honey. “Due to this project, we will be able to counteract climate change. It would be a great achievement if we were able to acquire the right knowledge, so that in the future we could face up to the changes which are affecting us year after year,” says Juan Jose.
These forecasts are produced thanks to the data collection that the 20 observing producers of the Adapta project carry out on a daily basis at weather stations installed by the project.
Over the course of the 4 years, producers like Juan Jose will be receiving a weather bulletin which will let them know what the weather will be like for the following 10 days and what consequences it could have for his beehives. In addition, during these 4 years, Juan Jose will receive continuous education on data analysis, techniques to improve his beekeeping methods, and finally, adequate business administration. It is hoped that at the end of the 4 years, the producers will have improved their output and will be able to increase their income by 2.5%.
Follow us to find out how they are getting on.