Bees for Development Journal 126 March 2018
The Inzerki Apiary: the world’s largest collection of local-style bee hives Kwame Aidoo, Bees for Development Ghana The world’s largest collection of local-style bee hives is in the village of Argana, 80 km from the southern city of Agadir, Morocco, within the huge Argan Biosphere Reserve (2.5 million hectares). Is this the world’s largest and oldest apiary? This magnificent heritage is known to the local Berber people as Taddart Inzerki and dates back to the 1850s although oral tradition confirms that beekeeping on this site is far older.
other palm species. Additional advantages are a sunny south slope, and a relatively stable climate over the whole season. The isolation of the area from urban centres facilitated the ease of monitoring the site. It is known that the Berber tribes of Souss practised migratory beekeeping where hives were moved according to the blooming of bee plants and to the occurrence of rains, droughts and altitude. The building of the collective apiary enabled beekeepers to keep their colonies at a permanent site and there was no longer a need to move hives around. A guard constantly monitored the whole apiary and was paid by the community. At one time there were 80 families owning the set of monumental buildings built in adobe and spread over several levels with compartments formed of boxes in stands of four. Compartments can consist of several boxes which look
The permanent location of the Inzerki Apiary was chosen and developed by family beekeepers operating in the area. The first factor used in selecting the site was the abundance of good bee forage plants including lavender, rosemary, thistle, thyme, and other honey plants including trees such as almond, argan, date and
Photos © Kwame Aidoo
The 2.5 million-hectare Argan Biosphere Reserve, near Agadir, Morocco