logo man

 

Home / Online resources / Ingredients bank /

Remarkable for its white-to-cream color, it has great medicinal value and has always been harvested in a traditional way. Whether it is for its therapeutic properties (digestive, healing, moisturizing), or for the ecosystem benefits related to the conditions of its production, it seems that the Oku honey is an essential product. The direct and indirect benefits of beekeeping in this case are already numerous, for biodiversity (environment), beekeepers and intermediary structures (economic and social), women (social), and so on.

 

Ingredient Miel

 

Introduction

Recognized as a Protected Geographic Indication by the African Intellectual Property Organization (AIPO for short in French) since 2012.
Country of origin: Cameroon | Production Area: Kilum-Ijim Protected Community Forests
Main honey plants: Schefflera abyssinica, Prunus africana and Nuxia congesta
Collection Season: February-June | Production capacity: Contact us

 

Organoleptic characteristics

Feature: mild and creamy, slightly grainy | Color: white to creamy (depending on temperature)
Taste: sweet, slightly sour, fresh palate with aromas of flowers and citrus

 

Physical and chemical characteristics

Density: 1.4 | Melting point: 35°C

 

Condition of preservation

Store in a cool place away from heat and light.

 

Properties and use

Antioxidant (flavonoids), digestive, avoids dehydration, antibacterial effect. The Oku honey’s medicinal properties include the treatment of coughs and asthma, wounds, infections, digestive issues and other skin diseases (V. J. Ingram, University of Amsterdam, 2014; WIPO).

 

Ingredient Miel2

 

Background’s presentation

Oku honey is harvested through ancestral methods in the rainforest of Kilum-Ijim, between 2000 and 3000 meters above sea level. (related to the manufacture of beehives, the capture of bees’ swarms and the choice of hives’ localization). Kilum-Ijim Forest is subject to a community management program. It is a biodiversity hotspot covering a 20,000 hectares’ area, offering floristic richness, endemic birds, and unique monkeys. This rich ecosystem provides essential ecosystem services, including the production of non-timber forest products (honey, mushrooms, medicinal products ...) essential to the economic activities of local communities.

The area around this forest is very dense, estimated at nearly 300,000 inhabitants within a perimeter of 20 km, thanks to the very rich volcanic soils and a mild climate allowing an intensive food agriculture in the region. The inhabitants of the Adamaoua region, which crosses the north-central part of Cameroon, have been practicing beekeeping for centuries, transporting their hives to specific places in the Kilum Ijim forest. Hives are traditional, plaited from bamboo, raffia and other herbs. Bees do not spontaneously live in the forest, they can be found on the slopes of Mount Oku: beekeepers carry the hives in the forest for more than 15km sometimes, after they have been colonized in the plain. This is done from November to March, when the flowers are in the forest.

Thus, Oku white honey, which is quite rare, owes its specificity and quality to the exceptional ecosystem of the Kilum-Ijim Forest, where it harbors more than 150 species of honey plants in all and combines conditions of rainfall, sunshine, temperature, Altitude and soil quality, all of which have an influence on the quality of this honey. The three most important honey species are Schefflera abyssinica, Prunus africana and Nuxia congesta.

 

NGO working in the sector

Cameroon Gender and Environment Watch (CAMGEW), a Cameroonian NGO created in 2007, aims at protecting these forests by the development of beekeeping, with the production in particular of beeswax and Oku white honey, whose peasants already produce about 20 tons in the region. The national and sub-regional market is demanding. Beekeeping is a production favorable to the conservation of biodiversity, as beekeepers have an interest in maintaining honey-producing areas and species, and in controlling bush fires. The NGO also supports the replanting of the Prunus africana tree, which was once abundant on Mount Kilum. This specie, appreciated by bees, has
an interesting economic potential for the years to come.

The NGO promotes and helps environmental protection by strengthening the capacity of community members, especially women and young people, in eco-businesses and forest regeneration for livelihood improvement in the Kilum-Ijim forest area. CAMGEW indeed trains many women in beekeeping, an activity traditionally reserved for men. The NGO is trying to alleviate the trend and offer new sources of income for women, thereby contributing to their economic independence.

 

Impact on biodiversity and local communities

Currently, the very existence of Oku white honey is jeopardized because of the reduction of the Kilum-Ijim forest area (due to bush fires, agricultural extension, exploitation ...) and the scarcity of these 3 species, in particular Prunus africana, widely used by pharmaceutical companies for its bark. 

Since 2012, Oku's white honey has benefited from a “Protected Geographical Indication”, obtained with the support of the AFD-PRCC, guaranteeing the quality and the origin of the honey as well as a better added value for the beekeepers of the region. Since its PGI labeling, the honey’s price for beekeepers has almost doubled, significantly improving their income and their interest in protecting biodiversity. A PGI can directly contribute to biodiversity conservation as it promotes the use of a specific local biological resource. The PGI also indirectly contributes to maintaining biodiversity by promoting certain production and natural resources management practices.

The quality and image of the product – and thus its value – are directly related to the use that is made of local resources (soils, landscapes, genetic resources…): producers therefore seek to preserve them and manage them in a sustainable manner.

 

Man and Nature cannot be hold responsible for any misuse of the information contained in these pages. These factsheets cannot be considered as a therapeutic or medical prescription and cannot in any way replace a consultation with a health professional.

Spacement - Espacement



DON ENv02

News title

Activity Report

In 2016, 18 supported projects in 13 different countries

RAAPos3ok

Ingredients Bank

Man & Nature supports the development of Green Value Chains

INGPos3ok

Web TV

Get an insight of our work!

VIDPos3ok