Villagers in Khame, Bulilima East have embraced beekeeping as a mitigation strategy to deal with climate change challenges affecting the country.
The Ministry of Environment, Climate, Tourism and Hospitality Industry in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recently embarked on a one-week training of 50 participants in the ward on beekeeping as a business.
The program which is supported by the Russian government towards implementing Zimbabwe’s Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change (STIZ- NDC), saw villagers from four different wards being equipped with skills.
A Climate Change Mitigation expert, Lawrence Mashungu said bee farming is a mitigation measure as it teaches villagers to conserve their forests.
“Beekeeping is a mitigation measure because when people keep bees we know that bees need trees so by keeping bees, people will stop deforestation and therefore they conserve the carbon syncs. This time people will see the value of keeping trees because naturally, people do not cut fruit trees but they cut other types of trees which are not fruit trees,” said Mashungu.
He said he was happy with the effort participants put in the program.
“The response has been very much fantastic, farmers are showing that they have a strong commitment to the environmental protection and they also know that crops and livestock cannot sustain them alone, the two need some complimentary income generation streams.
“The sustainability of it depends on how well the community is going to manage it but our wish is that it should be a long term project,” said Mashungu.
A 17-year-old girl, Percerve Sebele who is part of the participants said the program will empower her to venture into other income-generating projects.
“I could not finish school due to shortage of funds, I only managed to finish my grade seven so I am taking this his project as a stepping stone which is going to assist me to raise money to assist my family. There are also other businesses that I would like to do, so this program is going to help me a lot,” said Sebele
Ward 22Councillor, Philip Mpofu also commended the project saying it is going to help develop the community.
“The participants came prepared and willing to learn more. If it is successfully implemented, villagers will get money from selling honey and assist in developing our infrastructure,” said Cllr Mpofu.
Meanwhile, Forestry Extension Officer for Matabeleland South, Fortunes Matutu added that they are promoting beekeeping as a forest management strategy.
“We deliberately promote beekeeping as a strategy to forest management or managing forest around communities because most of the time people view the forest as idle land where they are not getting enough,” said Matutu.