Queens of Bees

More than half the 155,000 population in Tien Lan District, Viet Nam are women who derive incomes mainly from agriculture and aquaculture. Past practices – especially the clearing of mangroves for shrimp farming – have lowered the resilience of coastal communities, and decreased the natural services provided by mangroves.

Developing alternative livelihoods for communities in these areas of mangrove deforestation is seen as a crucial step to protecting valuable mangrove forests.

Through an alternative livelihood project supported by MFF, the women of  Hai Phong City in Tien Lan District were able to get micro-loans to invest in equipment and training in sustainable beekeeping, and study tours to learn about eco-labeling for wild honey. 

With beekeeping as an alternative livelihood activity, less pressure is placed on the mangroves which provide nursery grounds for fish, reduce climate change related disaster risks, filter pollutants as well as provide an important source of food and livelihood for coastal communities.

Implemented by Tien Lang Women’s Union, the “Establish a sustainable apiculture model run by women in the mangrove forest of Tien Lan District, Hai Phong City” project ran from November 2014 to July 2015. Hai Phong Union of Friendship Organizations provided managerial support for the project while Hai Phong Institution of Animal Science helped with technical support.

After an initial survey of 70 households in Hai Phong City, 20 elected to participate in the project. At the end of the project, 17 of the 20 households reported increased annual income of approximately VND 11m (approx. US$ 500) from apiculture production.

The project was conceived, designed and implemented by women who have full ownership of, control of and access to resources. When the project ended, all households agreed to contribute to a development fund for mangrove protection and to expand the project further.

When asked about the importance of mangrove ecosystems, the women unanimously agreed that not only do mangroves represent their main income, but are essential for wellbeing of the environment.


Mangroves for the Future (MFF) is a partnership-based regional initiative which promotes investment in coastal ecosystem conservation for sustainable development. MFF focuses on the role that healthy, well-managed coastal ecosystems play in building the resilience of ecosystem-dependent coastal communities in Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam. The initiative uses mangroves as a flagship ecosystem, but MFF is inclusive of all types of coastal ecosystem, such as coral reefs, estuaries, lagoons, sandy beaches, sea grasses and wetlands. MFF is co-chaired by IUCN and UNDP, and is funded by Danida, Norad, and Sida and the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Thailand.

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