Bees, flying between flowers and producing honey tirelessly, are perhaps the most industrious creature in the world. Tiny bees can help plant to pollinate, foster the growth of trees and crops and improve the quality and quantity of crops. Bee products, including honey, pollen, royal jelly, are all premium natural health food items. Bee-breeding which takes up only a small area of cropland or woodland, is an environment-friendly enterprise but can increase farmers' income in a period as brief as one year.
Mr. Li Tingyun, 45 years old, and his family live in San Chakou Village, Miyun County of Beijing. His two daughters are in school. The whole family lives on a small plot of cropland and small wages from short-term labor work outside the village. In 2005, the annual income of his family was less than 2,000 RMB per capita. Life was hard for them.
The Bee Project of Heifer International helped the local farmers to buy high-quality bees and master scientific breeding methods. The project also sought help from China Academy of Agriculture to provide fine-bred queen bees for project recipients to improve productivity and anti- disease capability of the bees.
Mr. Li Tingyun received 25 hives of bees from Heifer project. Both he and his wife attended actively the technical trainings, studied hard and mastered the technologies of bee-breeding. In 2007, his family produced 1500 Kg of honey and 30 hives of bees. As a result, they made RMB 15,000, which covered the two daughters' tuitions. Li said his family will expand their bee production in the coming year and pass on the gift to help more impoverished families by keeping this "Sweet Enterprise" active.