Indigenous Honeybees in Rural Himalayas: A Community-based Approach for Conserving Biodiversity and Sustainable Income Generation

Nepal has a rich tradition of beekeeping in rural areas with the native apis cerana bees. Villagers have been using indigenous knowledge in sustainable management of beekeeping in traditional log hives. Apis cerana bees have adapted to Nepal’s mountainous terrain and difficult landscape; it can survive up to 11,500ft and requires little management. It is resistant to cold, predators and diseases. They produce honey twice a year and each hive can yield 20 kilograms. In our pilot site, Dhorpattan, we invested in 25 bee colonies.


The beekeeping project in Dhorpattan Tibetan Refugee Camp, Baglung district, sits at 9,500 ft above sea level; the Swiss Red Cross first established in 1961 for Tibetan refugees fleeing Chinese persecution. The refugee camp is home to 40 stateless households without any legal documentation. The nearest road is 2 days walk and the nearest city, Pokhara, is 3 days away. Agriculture (mainly potatoes and livestock) makes up 90% of the community’s income. The camp cultivates 5 hectares of fields. The environment and availability of organic, non-pesticide pollen makes it very suitable for beekeeping. Beekeeping and honey would add a new source of income for the farmers.


We are expanding to more beehives in Jampaling Tibetan Camp and Tserok Tibetan Camp, Mustang! Join our Newsletter to receive updates!