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Fred Smith and his son operate F&D Apiaries where together they run about 250 beehives. Fred’s son, Daniel, is carrying on a family skill as a fourth generation beekeeper. Fred’s father is a full time beekeeper with an impressive 2,400 hives. Fred and Daniel provide rental hives for blueberries in New Jersey, apples and cherries in Maryland, watermelon in Delaware, and even for pollinating Almonds in California. F&D Apiaries sells honey all over, but can be found mostly at shows and markets.
Fred recently returned from Abuja – the capitol city of Nigeria, West Africa. A large portion of Nigeria’s food is produced by small scale farmers who live in poverty and depend on agriculture for food and income. The purpose of Fred’s visit was to provide comprehensive beekeeping training to the Chikara community, located about two hours from the Abuja metropolis. The majority of the rural farmers there rely heavily on traditional methods of beekeeping and Fred’s task would include modernizing the beekeeping methods and sharing the skills required for optimum production.
Winrock International, USAID, and tax dollars completely funded Fred’s travel, food, and accommodations, while Fred contributed his knowledge as well as his personal vacation time to undertake this adventure. To read more about these organizations, see their websites; www.winrock.org and www.usaid.gov.
Fred spent his vacation time in very hot temperatures, 95-110 degrees, every day. His motel did not have electricity and a generator was used to provide light each evening; limited to after dark until 2 a.m. only. Morning showers to wash away the night sweat required a flashlight. After breakfast the scenic drive to the village included mud huts, no plumbing, and widespread trash. Upon arrival Fred was blessed by the chief and then permitted to go anywhere in the village.
While in Chikara Fred worked to help a group of boys, ages 17-22, establish two beehives. Fred witnessed potential for expansion of the beekeeping program there. Maintaining the hives requires little cost and will provide income from honey sales for years to come. A local carpenter will benefit from constructing the hives as Fred was able to demonstrate. The carpenter impressively completed a hive in one evening without electricity, and was able to complete the second hive the next day. Another benefit of beekeeping in Nigeria includes the improved pollination services these bees provide on all vegetation in the area of the hives. This means that the fruits and vegetables will experience an increase in quantity and quality.
For many of us reading, this may not sound like the most luxurious type of vacation, but the work of volunteers like Fred will impact our world for eternity. Way to go Fred!
-this article taken from the Kent Nutrition Group Company Newsletter where Fred is the office manager for at Hagerstown,
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