IT WOULD BE INTERESTING to know where most of us learn out beekeeping skills. Is it possible to become a competent beekeeper just by reading the literature? I suspect not: most of us need guidance from an experienced beekeeper, supplement this by reading, and learn from our own adventures and mistakes. This path to becoming a truly skilled and confident beekeeper is enjoyable but it takes time and patience.
Sometimes people need to learn beekeeping skills more quickly, and this is where good training courses are needed. Most of the available beekeeping courses are in industrialised countries and focus on beekeeping with sophisticated technology.
Government and project workers in developing countries who need to acquire skills quickly usually have to travel overseas for training. Large amounts of available budgets are used for this and therefore relatively few people are enabled to train in this way.
On returning home these select and well-qualified beekeepers, now with overseas experience, find themselves in demand from other sectors, and beekeeping as small specialised branch of agriculture suffers from this ‘brain drain’.
Another problem is that unless selected carefully the training received may prove inappropriate.
This leads to frustrated beekeepers who cannot apply their skills on return home: bees in different climates show different behaviour, the equipment used during training does not work, is not available or is prohibitively expensive.
We need plenty of training courses to be available, and they must provide relevant, practical training.
This journal endeavours to find and provide information on appropriate training courses: two more are featured in this edition on page twelve.