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Case Study Of Boyo Division Cameroon History Essay

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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016

Boyo Division is found in Cameroon precisely at the North West region of Cameroon. It is one 58 divisions of Cameroon which is situated about is 50 miles from the North West capital Bamenda. This Division is roughly estimated to have 126,000 inhabitants with an area of about 300 square miles. Boyo division has its administrative capital Fundong. It has three sub divisions Belo, Njinikom and Bum. There are 8 satellites villages that make up this Division Achain, Akei, Baiso, Baicham, Bueni, Mbesinaku, Mbenkas and Mejang. The people speak Itaing Ikom as their language; it is the only unique tribes in the province that practice matrilineal line of descend where succession and marriage enthronement lies in the mother line.

The ecological environment of Boyo Division is purely mountainous with the green savanna grass and a dense forest that covers the whole of the west of the division. The forest has a Varity of flowering plants and flowers that attract bees and also provides nectar for the bees in production of honey. The climate is very moderate with two climates dry and rainy seasons that suit the keeping of bees and fertile soil for the planting of flowers.

Beekeeping in Cameroon has become a very successful occupation in primary sector of the economy. “Beekeeping is a major integral component in agricultural economy of developing countries and produce much more than food. Current interest in quality of environment is influencing the people to look more deeply at the factors upon which food production, health and aesthetic aspects of the environment depend” (Martin, 1976).It has employed so many Cameroonians since it an occupation that does not need skill labour thus many are self employed. Beekeeping is mostly done in the rural areas where there are forests, and greener pastures which provide nectar for the bees. During the 1980s economic crisis many people where redundant and some forced to go on voluntary retirement and many people where unemployed. Many were forced to go back to villages. Boyo Division was not an exemption of the villages. Beekeeping in this area was an occupation of the poor and unskilled labourers with” farmers education levels are generally quite low with high proportions of both men and women farmers never having attended school. (David Shapiro? Eric Tollens 1922). The people of this Division have profited from the environmental resources like fertile soil, and bees to help promote development of their area. “The keeping of bees and harvesting of honey are ancient practices throughout the world .Modern systems of beekeeping also called apiculture have been described as an art. Maintaining, from construction of hives to protection of bees from disease and predators” (CITA Rural Radio Packs. Home copyright 2006-7 ). Same in Boyo bee keeping was not an occupation in the past because people kept bees just for traditional purposes and not commercial use thus; little attention was focused on that since the harvesting of honey was not individual but collectively by the whole community.

When the educated unemployed came back to the village the tried to revive this sector by modernising and expanding beekeeping in the Division which have influenced their environmental ecology like flower planting which is the source of nectar for the bees, the exploration of timber for beehives and the use of elephant grass and clay soil for traditional bee hives. Beekeeping in this Division is of paramount importance to the people from time immemorial, beekeeping has been something handing down from generation to generations. The ecological environment of this Division and the availability of material culture, the rain forest and the savannah grass have provided a suitable ground for beekeeping bees. Beekeeping is kept in all the nine satellite villages in this Division, Mbesinaku, Baiso, Akei, Mejang, Baicham, Achain, Bueni, and Mbenkas.

These groups of villages practice a mix economy which is predominant, which comprise mainly of farming. They practice mostly subsistence type of farming a hand to mouth type of farming, when there are excesses they are sold in their local markets. The people also grow cash crops which are sold in international markets like Arabica coffee. Kom farmers are mostly women who are believed to make the soil more fruitful, they also responsible for the task of growing crops such as peanuts, maize beans, cocoyam, Irish, potatoes, yams, all types of vegetable and host of many other crops. They also raise some livestock including chickens and goats which play an important role in daily subsistence, they also do “petit trading” to provide the most necessary for their domestic consumption. But Beekeeping is mostly done by men since is highly commercial and most of the family revenue comes from the sale of honey. This paper is going to look at why beekeeping has influenced flower planting in this area and the impact on the lives of the people this Division, and also the differences that existed in the past and the present.


A bee is an insect which is both harmful and productive to mankind. Bees live in colonies and the female bees called the queen are responsible for the production of honey. Beekeeping is the process whereby man turn to nurse bees in hives for the production of honey. Beekeeping in Boyo Division is both traditional and modern but due to time and space it has become modernised with modern techniques of bee hives and the transformation of it to many commercial use. Bees in these areas are mostly kept by men, it is considered a male job but with modernity and freedom of choice women are also evolved in it but to a lesser extent.

The origin of bee keeping began centuries ago and it was done in a traditional way where sacrifices where done before a person could keep a bee hive. This was because bees were not only to provide honey but as natural soldiers for their tribes, they acted as fighters for predators for the tribe. Only a tile man in the village could own a bee hive and the harvesting of it was mostly by elderly people mostly in the night. Their hives were mostly made up of local material either from clay pots, “in these large areas, wooden boards or timber are scarce, and therefore grass and mud have played major roles in providing material for beehives”.(Stephen O. Adjare 1990) These pots were kept in areas were there was a source of nectar like coffee farms. When the pots were kept honey was roped on the mouth of the pot to attracted bees. During harvesting, this method was not effective because the bees were destroyed. The mouth of the pot was sealed and place on very high temperature so the bees should die.

There is another way of keeping bees which is not man made, reason being that bees do not need a hive but a hole. They manufacture their comb on the walls of the hole. This type of honey is very special in that it is used mostly for medicinal purposes. “Honey is being used as an agent to heal the wounds and ulcers. This is especially true with diabetic ulcers. These ulcers are very difficult to heal because of decreased blood supply to the area of wounds. Honey is used to heal complicated wounds”. (David Prakash Kuma 2009)

Honey gotten from beekeeping varies from the source of nectar. There are three types of honey in Boyo. Honey gotten from forest flowers is usually dark brown and tick, the white and waxy honey is gotten from nectar from flowering bananas and coffee plants while the brown sticky and liquid honey is gotten from flowers like Sun flowers, roses and hibiscus flowers

Percentage of People Directly or Indirectly Involved in Beekeeping

Directly involved

Age Group


Retired Men






Indirectly involved



The old


The diagram shows the estimated percentage of people involved in bee keeping in Boyo, which shows that retired men are those fully involved in the occupation. The women and the old are those who are not directly involved in it. The do the selling of the honey back at homes but when it comes to commercialisation it is left in the hands of the men. “Generally, from this finding, it can be learnt that all family members are directly or indirectly involved in beekeeping activities. Concerning the roles of women in relation to beekeeping activities, the respondents replied that women are involved in hive making, plastering and smoking hives, colony transferring, assist during honey harvesting, storage, processing and marketing of hive products.” (Tessega Belie 2009)


Beekeeping in this division requires less time consuming, people need little or no time to care for the bee hives. Some people take beekeeping as their part time.

Beekeeping does not require much space for beehives. Thus the people of this Division keep bees alongside other crops like coffee plants, banana, corn and flowers gardens which provide nectar for the bees.

Beekeeping is also of paramount importance for the planting of flowers in this region. Therefore its impact on the ecological system of this region is that the bees help in flowers pollination thus increasing high yields of certain crops mainly coffee plants and banana.

Beekeeping has also helped in the exploration of the region. In keeping

hives in the forest areas they have discovered useful medicinal plants which helps in curing certain diseases like malaria.

Beekeeping has helped to reduced unemployment in Boyo Division. So many villagers especially the youths and the retired people are involved in beekeeping and this have brought self employment thus reducing the rate of unemployment in Cameroon.

This occupation has long existed and still survives till present because of the traditional importance to the people of this area. The traditional beer used in libation during marriage ceremonies is made up of honey. Hence, they deem it necessary to always keep bees to keep alive this tradition

It has also helped to bring about another booming job in the area which is the planting of flowers. Many youths and women are involved in flower planting. They rent land and plants flowers which provide nectar for the bees. Thus beekeepers also rent the flower gardens to install their beehives.

The living standards of most of the people of this area have improved; it generates income to these people. The sales of honey have helped to up lift the financial burden of the people.Beekeeping have helped to promot the economic activities of the people of this Division

Honey from bees is very medicinal to curing of cough and the treatment of wounds. New born babies who are not strong enough to take medication for cough, honey serves as their only remedy. Thus the keeping of bees in this area is very important.

Going to the hospital when somebody is suffering from burns is very expensive. Thus the cheapest and affordable way of treating burns is the use of honey which is less costly.


Boyo Division is fast becoming a town because of its rapid growth due to beekeeping which has led to promotion of the exploitation of the forest products like timber, the planting of flowers.” Modern beekeeping in this area has proved to satisfy socio economic demands and at the same time, restores and conserves the ecosystem’s integrity. In other words, it is capable of improving livelihoods while conserving ecosystems and restoring degraded ones through regeneration of different plant species as illustrated in the picture below and therefore, a good candidate for scaling up and out in the region”(James Ateker Dkiria 2007)


Flower planting

Apart from the coffee and banana trees that provided nectar for bees around the neighbourhoods, many people have embarked on flower planting, the reason being that bees need flowers for pollination and also for nectar to produced honey. The uninhabited land is always in used for the planting of flowers around the year. During the raining season there is less time in catering for the flowers because of the availability of water but during the dry season the need water. Many youths especially school dropped out are involved in this occupation. Beekeepers therefore always rent a piece of land from the flower planters to keep their hive as a source for nectar for the bees.

Source: Tessega Belie (2009)

The use of Timber

The dense forest At “Ajim” has been exploited. Carpentry work was meant for uneducated people. It was considered as profession for lay people but now, the educated people are fully involved in it, the exploit the forest products to make beehives. “The mahogany tree” which is one of the hardest woods is used by carpenters to manufacture beehives boxes. All types of shapes are made out these wood square boxes, cone shapes and a variety may others.

This is bee hive made out the mahogany tree

The used of clay soil

This Division is has a variaty of soil,it comprises of the lum soil, and the clay soil. The use the available clay soil in manufacturing clay ports. These clay pots are used as traditional beehives. Many people have engaged in manufacturing these pots because the demand is too high. Thus beekeeping have influenced the expliotation of the cultural ecology of Boyo which have led to the development of the Division.


The use of Elephant Grass

The elephant grass is also a useful material for beehives. The construction of these type of hives is mostly done by the youth. This reguires less time and less expensive. They do harvest this special grass growing around the village , they sun and weaved the grass into beehives.Therefore grass have become a very important material in beekeeping.

The difference between traditional beekeeping and modern beekeeping

The differences lie in the method of keeping the bees and harvesting of honey.

The traditional method is the cheapest and the most affordable method of keeping bees. This is because they use mostly the available material culture at their disposal for the manufacturing of beehives. In this Division” wooden boards or timber are scarce, and therefore grass and mud have played major roles in providing material for beehive construction”( Stephen O. Adjare 1990). Like free grass, bamboos; and clay pots which does not cost anything. The difference with modern beehives is that the consturuction demand skill labour and the material is costly.

The traditional beekeepers do it purposely for traditional usage like the making traditional beer and for socialisation. During bee harvesting by a traditionalist the whole quarter have to gather in his compound for feasting and having a share of it. But with the modern keepers oit does not involveld any process of socialisation because he does it for commercial purpose only.

Another difference that exist between the modern and the traditional beekeepers is that the traditional beekeepers or “traditional honey-tappers prefer to strip themselves naked than to wear clothes when harvesting honey at night, but the modern beekeeper is advised to acquire suitable protective clothes to keep the bees from reaching his flesh. Thus a bee suit, gloves, veil and a pair of boots should be acquired before the honey is harvested or any work involving the opening of the hive is undertaken” (stephen O. Adjare 1990).

The modern material used in construction of beehives are hard and free from predadotrs like termites and other harmful insects . while the traditional ones are less effective and easily attacked by predators.

Modern beekeepers have modern equipments for the extraction of honey from their combs without the destruction of the bees. But the traditional beekeepers use lighted sticks to smokethe bees in so doing killing some of the bees.

The Impact of Beekeeping on the Lives of The People

Beekeeping in Boyo Division Have impacted the lives of the people in many ways both positive and negatively. Beekeeping has helped to reduce the rate of unemployment.Many jobleess citizens have been self employed.

Beekeeping is a source of in come, the selling of honey is a finanacial source of income for these people. “In southwestern parts of Ethiopia, some households entirely depend

on honey hunting and forest beekeeping for their entire livelihood. Honey hunting is also common in pastoral communities in which beekeeping seem impossible” (Tessega Belie 2009)

It has helped to improve the living standard of the people.Increased the litrate level of the people many children can now aquire education because of the out come of beee keeping.

The Problems Encountered in Beekeeping

Bush fire is the fondamental problem in beekeeping in this Division. During the dry season people clear their bushes for farming. The burn the grass for easy cultivation as aresult the fire at times extend it boundry and beehives around especially those made up of wood and grass caught up in fire. Many beekeepers often witness this during the dry season.

The bee hives in the forest region are usualy attacked by lizard. The hives made out of grass are good habitats for lizards the eat up the queen bee and the combs.

There is no security to prevent the hives from burglas. Since ther usually kept in flowers farms, at the forest and bushy areas. Idlle thieves take the advantage of their location and so the harvesting of honey while people are at sleep.

Poverty is is another constrain in bee keeping in this division. This render them to go in for very cheap and in effective tools in beekeeping which does not gives them good yeilds.

The Role of the Government and the local community to curb this problems.

The Government have discovered that the keeping of bees is very important in the economic development of Cameroonians. Honey itsef is medicinal and its bi-products comb is used for the manufacturing of candle, also use for demathological problems. Because of these important reasons the government have helped to provide the bee keepers with subsidies like the harversting cloths and others useful things.

The government have also through sensitized communities “how to construct hives such including top-bar hives and where to place these hives on their farms and forest lands for bee colonisation and optimal honey production. Evidence for the success of these initiatives is provided to by the existence of profitable beekeeping co-operatives and groups in the Cameroon” .( Emmanuel O Nuesiri and Eunice E Fombad 25 october 2006)

The local community is not also left out. Associations have sprang up to help educate the community of the dangers of bush fire which does not only destroy the eco systems but have drastic effect on man.

Beekeeping in Boyo Division have become a profitable occupation., which has helped in social, economic and cutural development of Boyo. It has also helped to influence the cultural ecology of of this division, in that many subsidary jobs have emerged because of bee keeping like the planting of flowers which does not only provides nectar but serves as a means of pollination for good yeilds. The use of natural soil for clay pots for bee hives and the use of timber for bee hives have also encouraged carpentary work. Thus bee keeping has helped in the cultural development of Boyo.

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