The Norwegian who are funding a five year project under Climate Change Mitigation Group, (CCMG) which seeks to give communities alternative sources of income to survive to wean them from harvesting forestry products for cash.
CCMG Secretary Mohamed Khatibu said on Tuesday evening that Masawi villagers have been given 20 modern beehives worth 5m/- to enable them engage in honey production and earn income instead of destroying Masawi Forest Reserve.
The five year Norwegian government funded project covers 2012/17) and dubbed: “Empowering Communities through Training on Participatory Forest Management (PFM), REDD+ Climate Change Initiatives (ECOPRC), targets individuals and groups of people.
“We have received the modern beehives last February so that we can expand our tree planting project at Masawi village to enable villagers have an alternative source of income other than depending on forests,” Khatibu said.
He expressed his appreciation to ECOPRC for supporting conservation efforts through curbing deforestation caused by charcoal makers, timber processors and loggers, among others.
“We also have huge herds of livestock keepers who need to be sensitized,” the CCMG Secretary noted. Apart from training the villagers on modern beekeeping techniques, the funding has also assisted to buy other supporting equipment such as honey Reflectometer, glass jars, plastic jars and safety harvesting gear.
The project is expected to increase the communities’ incomes because honey has a reliable domestic and regional market in East African Community region.
Kondoa District Forest Officer, Emmanuel Kasisi paid tribute to the project and its financiers saying his council had already started training people in modern beekeeping and honey production.
“We also trained them on processing, packaging, handling and business management skills,” Kasisi noted.
Almost 75 percent of honey produced in the country is consumed locally while the 25 percent is exported to Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Italy and the EAC region.
The country has an estimated 48.8 million hectares of forest cover much of which is suitable for beekeeping.