Beekeeping—A Way to Generate Income and Conserve Forests

Poverty offers few options. So for many years villagers in Mbayi have turned to charcoal burning (making and selling charcoal) as a means of survival, a way to combat the repeating occurrence of hunger which dominates their lives. Unfortunately this rather easy solution has caused deforestation in the area. One of the ways the Zambian Government has addressed this concern is through the provision of a Beekeeping Initiative (bees need trees). For those interested in being trained in apiculture, they supply the artificial hives.

As I investigated this income generating activity, many additional costs became apparent—a fee for training, the purchase of smokers, veils and other protective clothing, wax for bait, a swarm box, honey press and jars. And that's when the Rotary Club of Streetsville, Ontario, Canada stepped in with a very generous donation!!!!

Setting Up the Apiary

Due to the contribution from this compassionate group, ten people have been trained as beekeepers. A location which meets all the conditions—close to a stream with brachystegia and julbernardia trees—for a successful apiary (bee yard) has been set up. The hives have been restored with a fresh coat of paint, bait wax applied and now we wait for the bees to settle in.

The teacher from the Forestry Department has been supervising this process and will continue to do so until the business is running successfully. He expects each hive to yield 60kg of honey once the colony is well established and the new beekeepers gain experience. Sold in 500ml bottles each hive (we have 11) should bring in about $115.00 Canadian after harvesting twice a year.

In a community where futures are undermined by extreme poverty, assisting these families by the development of small businesses is an incredible gift. Thank you Streetsville Rotary for making this possible!!!!