Celebrating 10 years with "La Abejita"

Four of the original five members of COABE 2012
Four of the original five members of COABE 2012

León, Nicaragua

A dream come true for the partners of "La Abejita" (the Little Bee)

Small and medium-sized enterprises, better known as SMEs in Nicaragua, contribute to the development objectives in our country. They represent more than 90 percent of businesses nationally, providing new opportunities and economic improvements for the families of the country.

10 years ago the idea of ​​a venture arose as an initiative of some inhabitants who participated in a training process conducted by ViviendasLeon. Focusing on building the capacities of rural residents,  the program would enhance their ability to lead a social transformation of their livelihoods, and contribute to the economic development of the rural community of Goyena.

The beekeeping collective called: "La Abejita", known for short as "COABE", began as a partnership with 5 members.  Two of them, rural women Deysi Ramirez and Oralia Ramirez, today are the owners of this family business.

COABE was conceived as a small-scale entrepreneurial initiative with a view to medium-term growth and continuing expansion in the long term. It would take advantage of the variety of available natural and human resources in the area, and would support the development of local farms. Beekeeping, a profitable and environmentally friendly business, contributes to successful farming through the pollination process carried out by bees in their natural activity of honey production.

The business began operations in June 2012, working the first six months with only 5 brood chambers, and focusing efforts on their growth. They managed to convert them into 3 hives. Subsequently, four additional breeding chambers and an additional nucleus were added, which were also to be converted into hives suitable for production.

In December of 2012, after just 6 months of effort, the first honey production was obtained, extracting a total of forty liters of honey, and was the first to be sold in their community. A highly motivational start to years of successful beekeeping.  Throughout the years since their first harvest, ViviendasLeon has maintained our relationship with COABE, providing trainings and activities to support the ongoing development of the small and growing business.

Sylvia Moran, one of the original partners
Sylvia Moran, one of the original partners

Oralia Ramirez, a founding member:
''In the beginning we received training to become partners of this family business. With the development and sales of honey and other products that we have learned to make using honey as raw material, our business has grown.Today we produce soaps, beeswax candles, and wines we blend with other honey, produced on our own farms. My life has been transformed. We ​​have obtained economic gains and independence that we would not have otherwise had"

Some highlights from COABE in our 10 years of work:

  1. Stability in the management and care of the apiary

  2. Continuous Technical Training

  3. Soaps and wines are being produced in a diversified way.

  4. Greater participation in fairs in the Leon department as well as regionally.

  5. Generated income of approximately US $100 per month from the sale of soap and wine. In the honey production season their income increases.

  6. This year a second apiary was recently built on the Deysi Ramirez farm, in a process to continue expanding their honey production, increase the number of hives, and control the quality of organic flowering plants needed for honey.

The challenges for the COABE collective have not been easy, however Deysi Ramirez and Oralia Ramirez, together with the work of their families, have come out ahead. They have taken advantage of the opportunities to grow their family business, and currently have the goal of producing more products, placing them in supermarkets and looking for potential clients to export their quality product to other countries.

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