Apiculture has been a passion for humans since ancient times. Stone tablets recording beekeeping practices have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 700BC, and while methods of beekeeping have taken on numerous forms over thousands of years, it wasn’t until 1789 that the first man-made hive was created. Since then, the practice of apiculture has developed to become a worldwide phenomena, and as the world deals with rising populations and food shortages, beekeeping is becoming more crucial than ever.

The revival and encouragement of apicultural practices amongst indigenous communities through bee colony production in the Nilgiris is at the core of Keystone’s work. The Nilgiri Biosphere Region is considered one of the 12 biodiversity hotspots of the world, yet various alterations of landscape use by humans has drastically reduced bee population and habitat in the region. Through Keystone’s efforts and the interest of local people, farmers in the Nilgiris have been trained in the art of beekeeping, providing both a source of livelihood and providing stability to a fragile ecosystem.

Programme Components


Deforestation leading to to a reduction in flowers • TSBV (Thai Sac Brood Virus) being introduced in 1993 that wiped out numerous broods and even wild hives • Bears demolishing beekeeping hives • Changes in land use • Transition from the practice of mixed cropping to monoculture destabilizing pollination practices • Extensive use of chemicals in farming


Media - •Pollinators Network  • Honey Portal  •Trainings • Research • Documentation • AT-development


Increase in floral diversity • Increase in crop production • Resource gains in terms of: honey, bees wax, more wild colonies, pollination • Ecologically sound sustainable development • Aid with the pollination of agricultural vegetation such as a coffee and potatoes, supporting both nutritional and cash crops • Providing a boost to the  local economy through additional income sources




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