Roe Valley Beekeepers Association

Club pages


The Late Rev Sam Millar who was instrumental in establishing links between Coleraine ZAP project and RVBKA

Since the 2008 season the Association has raised funds to support beekeeping in remote rural Milawi as part of the Zomba Action Project.

Z.A.P is a charity established in 2003 initiated by Coleraine Borough Council. It raises and manages funds for approved projects to help disadvantaged people in Zomba, Malawi.

The Zomba Action Project website is at  and contains further details of the range of projects underway and completed. (click on the link  to go there)

Amongst the projects supported by ZAP is the development of beekeeping skills in remote rural communities. In August 2007 Rev Miller outlined to members that an entire village's beekeeping venture could be sustained at the modest cost of around £400, the setup cost of providing 10 beehives and some basic beekeeping equipment. 

African bees migrate following monsoons so that they can benefit from the abundance of growth that follows. They will inhabit a beehive, deposit honey there and depart as seasons change. The beekeeper need only provide lodgings for the swarm, and in due course harvest the crop. Honey is valuable as a dietary supplement or as a cash crop, and only rudimentary equipment and some basic beekeeping skills are necessary. This ethos of supporting local development with enabling projects is central to the Zomba project.

RVBKA members agreed that supporting a village in this way would be an ideal way for our beekeeping club  to demonstrate unity with this concept. Each year since 2008 we have contributed £400 to this important work. Last year following the death of Rev Sam and the auctioning of his beekeeping equipment, with secured donations we contributed over £2200 and presented this to ZAP at the annual honey show. RVBKA intends to maintain this important link and has continued to support Zomba annually ever since as our official designated charity.

If you would like further information use the Zomba link or contact our club secretary RVBKA, or scroll down to link to the donations leaflet link, which gives further details of how you can be involved.

'The bee boxes, smokers, protective suits and training on bee keeping were funded by the Roe Valley Bee Keepers Association, This is one of three such projects funded in Zomba. in southern Malawi, to help provide food security and income generation for villagers in rural areas. Each box is marked with the name of the family responsible for it. Other families are encouraged to take an interest and subsequently invest in their own bee box

David presenting Cllr William King with a cheque for £2230.25 donation from the club to the Zomba fund. This was raised partly by the auction of the late rev Sam’s beekeeping equipment

 One of the clubs, at Mtendere, has now forwarded us two photos of their successful production of honey. We will hopefully have photos from the other clubs soon. I am sending you the two photos in an accompanying email. 

I do have to say that there are more clubs requesting support than we can afford to fund, so any further help you can provide will be appreciated. 

I was out in Malawi at the beginning of July for the Zomba Action Project (ZAP) and presented cheques there to two bee keeping clubs to help them extend the number of hives in use in their villages. I am attaching two photos of the cheque handovers for your information and a photo of bee hives in use. The Roe Valley Beekeepers provided the funding for the two projects. Sam Millar was a strong advocate in your club for funding bee keeping through ZAP.  Your club, and Sam's son, raised funding which has now been put to use in Sam's memory.

I am also attaching details of the two projects funded. Before transferring the funding for the two projects, we were provided with confirmation that the two villages have experience of bee keeping.

Both villages already sell honey at the nearest market; the people in the villages are subsistence farmers so any source of money is greatly welcomed by them.

If you want any more information about the bee projects you have funded, I am happy to provide it.  

Paul Snelling