As well as the Conservation Agriculture Project, several other projects developed in the Mwanza region:
Integrated with the Conservation Agriculture project is a tree planting initiative. So far we have planted more than 200 trees at the demonstration farm at the Church Planting School in Kisesa. We are working on developing a tree seedling nursery which will feed into the conservation agriculture project.
The aim of the tree nursery is to plant a variety of tree seeds, growing seedlings which can then be planted out by farmers involved in the agricultural project in and around their fields. Villagers will also be taught how to start their own tree nurseries for the purpose of aiding conservation agriculture and business.
A beekeeping project links in with our work in conservation agriculture. As well as the benefit of honey, bee hives in a field can greatly increase crop yields. For example, for every 500Tsh a beekeeper earns in honey when offering pollination services to a farmer, the farmer could gain as much as 10,000Tsh in increased crop yield! Currently we have beekeeping groups in two villages and have three hives at the Demonstration Farm in Kisesa. Beekeepers are trained to manage hives, harvest and market honey. Women’s groups are being taught to make beeswax crafts such as lip balms and candles, starting entrepreneurial projects.
EI staff member John has quickly become an expert in African beekeeping. Much of his work involves travelling around the region visiting the beekeepers , monitoring the hives and answering questions about the ‘modern’ techniques we promote. The ‘traditional’ approach of harvesting is to burn or smoke the hive so that the colony either flees or dies, allowing the farmer to remove everything from the hive (honey, wax, dead bees) and extract the honey for sale. This destructive approach risks wiping out the entire colony. Our groups have been taught to use hives with ‘top bars’ which allow a trained beekeeper to non-destructively inspect the state of the hive and then, when ready, harvest only enough honey and wax as is safe, allowing the colony to replenish quickly.
Watch this video about the Beekeeping project (February 2018) – its successes and challenges and the use of honey and beeswax.
The Waggle Dance Honey video (August 2018) shows more about the harvesting and processing of honey.
You can also read more on Tim and Rachel Monger’s blog What’s Cookin’ in Tanzania? about their involvement in the Beekeeping project
Bees Abroad have been invaluable in the support they have given to this project in Mwanza!
We have trained a team of people in Mwanza to make clay stoves using local clay which have health and environmental benefits. They are establishing a business selling the stoves. Members of the group will be able to work with us offering training in rural village projects.
Plans are underway to begin an entrepreneurship project as a means of community and environmental transformation on Ukerewe Island.
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