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Initiative on Beeswax Helps Women in Mali

Producing and marketing 20 tons of beeswax: that’s the aim for which ICCO Cooperation and the private company Olvea Burkina Faso, have been awarded a grant by USAID/Mali. The coming two years ICCO and Olvea will provide technical assistance to 3,000 women active in beeswax.

Initiative on Beeswax Helps Women in Mali

The beeswax project aims to stimulate entrepreneurship of these women by guaranteeing a market for organic beeswax. ICCO Cooperation will work with a business development service provider to train the women in beeswax (and honey) production best-practices. The women will be trained on how to separate the beeswax and honey.  

The project will take place in the Feed the Future Zones of Influence (ZOIs) of Mali with special focus on the Sikasso Region. The women will produce organic beeswax for a niche, lucrative, and growing market in Europe, which in addition to shea harvesting and commercialization will help them to diversify their income. The project will also reverse the negative effects of decreasing pollination populations.

OLVEA also contributes financially to this project. In addition, USAID/Mali will provide an additional grant that will support a study on the effect of honey-bees on shea trees- to be led by The World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

The women will own and manage the beehives. They will also be responsible for the harvest and will sign commercial contracts with Olvea BF. The honey will be sold both locally and internationally. The beeswax will be shipped to Olvea’s factory in Burkina Faso where it will be refined and packaged using modern equipment and techniques.

The women cooperatives will be organized and registered in formal groups. ICCO will assess the organizational, management, and governance capacity of the cooperatives. The assessment will help in developing a capacity building plan for each cooperative which will serve as a basis for improving the management and governance of the cooperatives.

The aim is to produce and market at least 20 tons beeswax by the end of the project.