Beekeeping to Conserve Tanzania's Rainforest

by African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC)

Habari zenu? We are thrilled to report that both the project and funding for our beekeeping project are complete!!!

In order to improve the livelihoods of women and men living in Kanga Village, a village adjacent to the Kanga Mountain forest, Global Giving supporters provided funds through the African Rainforest Conservancy for training and the provision of equipment. The project also aimed to provide an incentive to local residents to conserve the biologically important Kanga forest by supporting a livelihood activity that is closely linked with the conservation of the forest. The grant was implemented by the Tanzania Forest Conservation Group. The main activities were group identification; training; and distribution of beekeeping equipment. The project was implemented successfully.

Activity Description Training on beekeepingTraining on modern beekeeping was provided to two beekeeping groups namely KAECO (Kanga Environmental Conservation Group) and TUMAINI JEMA all based in Kanga village. The training was done in collaboration with the Mvomero District beekeeping officer, Mr. Oscar Kambona and two project staff. The training was planned in such as way that it took four days which combined both class session and practical session, which ended by each group given their hives which was taken to the forest and placed (Annex 1- training progamme).

The training was planned in such a way that it first started with preparations and procurement of different beekeeping equipments which included modern bee hives (Tanzania Transition Bee Hives – TTBH), overalls, veils, gloves, bee smokers, hive tools, galvanized wire, hummer, pliers, sisal ropes, honey strainer and many others (Annex 3 – Beekeeping equipments supplied) so as to be used for demonstration during the training including actual hives setting in the forest because this is the right season for setting hives to be colonized. Plate no. 3 shows some of the equipments being loaded to be taken to Kanga village.

Before starting this training, Kanga village was initially visited on 27.02.2013 with the aim of identifying villagers who are interested in beekeeping. During this meeting it was noted that there is already two well established groups known as Tumaini Jema and Kaeco and all these groups wanted to be supported on modern beekeeping so that they can fully engage in modern beekeeping hence increase and diversify their incomes. The groups, as a part of showing their commitments, were asked to write letter requesting the training and the equipments supports they want. In March, 2013 the two groups wrote letter to the project office at Turiani requesting to be assisted on the training and other beekeeping equipments. Then preparations of beekeeping equipments started. The names and composition of the two beekeeping groups at Kanga village is as indicated on the Annex 3. The training was scheduled to take place on March, 2013 but was delayed till the end of first week of May, 2013 due to delay in getting the beekeeping equipments.

A description of the training

The actual training at Kanga village started at on 07.05.2013 at 10.00 am as it was the time agreed by the participants so as to give them time in the morning hours to do their farm works.). A total of 39 participants from the two groups attended the training on day one where male was 24 and female was 15.

The village chairman opened the training by thanking the participants for their good turnout despite the fact that they are very busy with farm work. The programme started with the introduction of all the participants, starting by the two groups and then the visitors. The chairmen of the two groups made a brief presentation of their groups. KAECO group was started in 2007 has a total of 27 members (male = 17; female = 10). It is a registered group with its constitution and it is engaging in tree planting (It has about 10 hectares of forest land and part of it has been planted with Teak). The group is also dealing in VSLA and is very active. It has started beekeeping in a traditional way and they have 13 hives. The group has once received 1 day training on beekeeping from Mvomero District council with support from Care project. It was noted that the one day training was however very brief and insufficient for them to really adopt the new and modern beekeeping.

Tumanini Jema group was started on 28.11.2010 and has a total of 25 members (male = 15; female 10). This group is having several income generating activities which include farming where they have 5 acres farm planted with maize, tree planting where they have planted teak. The group mentioned some of the challenges they encountered which includes lack of funds to expand their activities, lack of training particularly in modern beekeeping, marketing and processing honey and wax.

The two groups have a total of 56 members when formed but some has withdrawn from the groups due to different reasons and now they are 52 members. The training programme for the four days was presented to participants and time for starting and ending the session was agreed: starting at 10.00 am and finish at 3.00 pm because many participants wanted to have time chase birds in their rice farms. Lunch break was agreed at 1.00pm.

The beekeeping officer continued by explaining to the groups the training objectives that it aimed at equipping the group with modern beekeeping techniques so as to diversify ways of increasing their income while managing their forests. In this way villagers will devote their efforts in managing their forests because they will be expecting to get some income out of it. He further explained that for KAECO group which received very brief training in the past then this time they will benefit more from this detailed training. The groups were the asked on their expectations from the training where some of the mentioned expectations included: to be able to practice modern beekeeping and increase their income, to be able to protect their forests, to have modern hives and other beekeeping gears, to increase their income hence improve their lives, to protect the forest and water sources, to protect the forest from fires and illegal tree cutting.

The beekeeping officer continued with other areas which include: what is beekeeping? Beekeeping policy statement and why should we have beekeeping? Types of Beekeeping and types of beekeeping equipments. This session was done in groups where the participants had time to share their experiences on traditional beekeeping and equipments used, there advantages and disadvantages.

When sharing the experiences of beekeeping in the village, particularly for the two groups, it was noted that KAECO group has about 13 local hives and have harvested three times since they have started beekeeping. When asked what tapes of hives they are having they said that they started with log hives but later decided to go into the forest and collected remaining left over from sown log planks (mabanzi), which the group members modified them and taken them to the local carpentry in their village who tried to imitate the modern hives (Plate 4).

The group further mentioned that on average they are harvesting 4 – 5 lts per hive and they only harvest honey and throw the rest because they don’t know how to prepare wax. It was also noted that the low honey harvest is partly contributed to the fact that hives were not inspected regularly to check the progress and if the hives are ready to be harvested. The Tumaini Jema group had little experiences on beekeeping hence they were learning a lot from the other group.

It was also noted from the discussion that no groups has so far received modern hives hence they expect to learn alot from this training.

On day two (08.05.2013) of the training, the programme started by participants reminding themselves on what was discussed on day one as there were new comers. After that the beekeeping officer continued with the monetary income from beekeeping where the participants shared their experiences in estimating earning from honey and wax. Kaeco experience was used here where they said they are getting about 4 – 5 of honey which is sold at 6000/= per Lt.They have so far got about 300,000/= from sells of honey. No income was obtained from wax as they do not know how to prepare it so that it can fetch a good market. This income was compared with modern hives which can give 15 – 20 lts per hive because the use effective equipments like honey press and strainers will increase amount of honey which otherwise left with other residues. Again wax will be prepared and sold hence more income. For 20 modern hives each producing 15 Lts and at price of 6000/= sold in the village the income will be 1,800,000/= which is more than what they get from rice farming where they said that in 1 acre they at maximum get 14 bags of rice which is sold at 100,000/= hence giving an income of 1,400,000/= . Again it was emphasized that one can do both hence receiving incomes from rice and from beekeeping.

The beekeeping officer then introduced the main topic of modern beekeeping, starting from what is modern beekeeping and it’s different from traditional beekeeping, advantages and disadvantages of modern beekeeping, types of modern beekeeping equipments. This session was done by both the beekeeping officer introducing the subject and also groups works where the villagers were able to share their experiences.

The modern Tanzania Transitional Bee Hive (TTBH) was introduced to the participants and explained how it is constructed (materials needed, dimension and its total costs). Different parts of the hives were also explained. The participants were eager to know a number of issues like amount of honey which the hive can produce, how the hive can be placed up or down the tree because it is big and others. All these issues were clarified y the beekeeping officer. Other equipments like galvanized wire and nails, which is used to tie up the hives, the sisal ropes, which is used to pull up the hives during setting, the overalls, gloves, bee veils, jangle hut, gum boots, hammer, pliers, plastic bucket, boiling pots and others were shown and its function explained to the participants.

The day two sessions ended by also introducing to the participants the science of bees, which included types of bees found it Tanzania (including their area), bees’ distribution in Tanzania, composition of bees in a bee colony and bee’s colonization and migration. Another topic discussed were bee apiary and its management (what is bee apiary, selection of site for bee apiary, management of bees and bee apiary), Honey harvesting and Processing, Honey Packaging and Marketing; and bee wax preparation, packaging and marketing. Participants shared their experiences on potential sites for beekeeping in their village, time for trapping bee groups and others. It was noted that each group has already selected their sites. Where Kaeco group has about 10 hectares of forest land and part of it has already been planted with Teak. In this site the group has put their local hives. This site is bordering Kanga FR. The other group has also its area where they have also planted Teak and it is where they plan to put their hives. Therefore time was spent in assessing the suitability of these two sites as a bee apiary.

Field Practical

The second session of the training which followed the session in class, started on day three (09.05.2013) of the training and the participants were introduced to more practical aspects of bee hives preparations before actual setting in the field, which included preparations of hives before setting, cleaning of hives, bating the hives, tying the hives with galvanized wires, and practicing how to pull the hives using ropes up to the tree and tying it with wire and taking the hives down the tree. Types of hives settings, its advantages and disadvantages were also discussed. Also protection of hives from destruction was discussed. Also Field visit to forests areas of each group selected as their apiary site was made to assess if it meets the criteria discussed in the class (see Plate 8).

It was interesting to note that the local carpenter at the village, who made the former hives of KAECO group when heard about the modern hive (TTBH) he also, came to the practical so that he can learn about the new hives. He learned all measurements of the TTBH and promised the participant that he is going to make one sample hive so that in future he can make the hives for the two groups at a cheap price instead of getting it from Morogoro (see Plate).

The fourth day (10.05.2013) was primarily used for distributing the equipments brought to the two groups. The 26 modern hives brought to the village was divided among the two groups where each group received 13 hives. Each group after receiving the hives it ensured that the hive is well cleaned, baited and the galvanized wire and nails are all well set as demonstrated the day before. After making sure that all the hives have been well prepared group members carried the hives up to the forest selected to be used as an apiary for the two groups. The beekeeping officer accompanied the Tumaini Jema group to their forest and the PM joined KAECO group to their forest because the two sites were far apart. While in their forest KAECO members noted that bee colony has left two of their local hives and from the training they have just received they decided to take down the hives to clean, bait and set the hives again.

While in the forest setting the hives the groups complained about illegal logging in their forest and frequent forest fires which have burnt their newly planted Khaya anthotheca trees (see plate 15). The group was however told that this was caused by the fact that there is no frequent patrols and inspection of their forest which has resulted into some of their hives been left by bees without their knowledge. This may also cause the bees to eat the honey in hives if it is left for so long before being inspected. The group was therefore strongly advised to make a plan and a time table among themselves so that they will make frequent patrols and inspection of their hives so that they will be able to note when a particular hive have been colonized by bees so that they can record that date to assist them to know the right time of harvest.

In this training we were also accompanied by one environmental activist, Mr. Msulwa, who volunteers himself in forestry extension, particularly promoting tree nurseries at primary schools. So he participated actively in collaboration with Kanga Primary school teachers and pupils and established school nursery while we are continuing with the beekeeping training. Throughout this training Mzee Msulwa was able to visit and mobilize primary schools at Digoma, Bwage, Diyongoya, Dihinda and Mbogo to start school nurseries.

The two groups are made up of members of different status including poor members. 38 % of the participants who attended the training were women.

Feedback from participants?

During the training villagers were asked to give their views on how they do beekeeping in their areas and how it can be improved. There were a lot of group works which encouraged participants to share their experiences. They gave a very good feedback on their traditional ways of beekeeping, which indicated that they have a good knowledge on beekeeping. They also had showed how they were lacking some of the expertise in beekeeping.

The participants expressed their appreciation for the training and equipment that was provided by the project and shared their optimism that through beekeeping they will be able to improve their livelihoods. They thanked TFCG and Global Giving supporters for providing them with the opportunity.

We are so close to completing our goal with our Beekeeping Project. We are thrilled to report that this project is almost completely funded and we have just over $800 to raise before we can implement completely. Thank you so much for your generous support for this project. Please make a donation today!

All of the funds received go directly towards supporting this project on the ground in Kanga Village, Tanzania.  Since receiving the initial funds, we were able to purchase 15 hives and hold our first training workshop!  Ultimately, we hope that this project will allow farmers to produce more than 50 liters of honey per year, which would drastically improve their income and livelihood.  Not only will the farmers benefit, but they will also have an incentive to conserve the surrounding forest where the bee hives are kept. So thank you again for your support for a great cause!

Check out our new photos!


Mambo Vipi?  This is just a quick update on our progress with our Beekeeping Project.  I'm happy to report that this project is almost completely funded and we have just under $1,000 to raise before we can implement completely. Thank you so much for your generous support for this project.  All of the funds received go directly towards supporting this project on the ground in Kanga Village, Tanzania.  Since receiving the initial funds, we were able to purchase 15 hives and hold our first training workshop!  Ultimately, we hope that this project will allow farmers to produce more than 50 liters of honey per year, which would drastically improve their income and livelihood.  Not only will the farmers benefit, but they will also have an incentive to conserve the surrounding forest where the bee hives are kept. So thank you again for your support for a great cause!

If you live in or near NYC, we would love for you to join us at our 22nd annual Artists for Africa benefit this April 23rd at the Bowery Hotel, where you can learn even more about our mission to support grassroots community development and conservation projects in Tanzania. We will also be honoring the country of Norway at this event with our New Species Award for the integral role they played in the success of our REDD project.  More details about this special event for Tanzania, its people and its forests, can be found here.


Greetings from Kanga Village! We are excited to report that this project is over half funded and we have just over $1,000 left to raise before we can fully implement it. With the initial funds this project has received we were able to purchase some of the required beehives and equipment for demonstration purposes and organize participants for their first training. We look forward to sharing photos in our next update and introducing you to the families participating in this project.

Please consider making an end of year gift to help continue to support this project in the coming year or give a gift in the name of a loved one this holiday season by simply clicking on the "Gift or in-honor of" tab. You'll have the option to email, print, or mail a lovely acknowledgment card to the lucky recipient.

From all of us at ARC, thank you for your support and warm wishes this holiday and for a very happy new year!


Did you know that this project has the potential for farmers to produces more than 50 liters of honey per year and earn as much as $400 annually in additional household income? For one of the world's poorest economies, where one-third of the population lives below the national poverty line, this is HUGE. And what is even more amazing about this project is that not only do local farmers profit from it, but the forests do too because farmers have an additional incentive to conserve the forests where the beehives are kept (we can't resist saying that this win-win situation is the "bee's knees"!). Thank you to generous donors like you, we are on our way to doing great things for Kanga Village's people and its forests.

We've been humbled by the generous support we've received to our two other projects on GlobalGiving and are hoping to take things up a notch with this project and have it fully funded by the end of the summer (we need just an initial $1,500 to launch it). To kick things off, we are excited to let you know that this Wednesday, June 13th is GlobalGiving Bonus Day and all donations to this project will be MATCHED at 50%!* Will you help make this project a reality? Your additional gift of $10 will become $15 and your $50 gift will become $75. Forward this email, post the report on your Facebook page, tweet about it on Twitter - tell your friends why you chose to support this project and ask them to make a gift too. It is amazing what we can accomplish when we all do our small part. 

On behalf of all of us at ARC, THANK YOU for supporting Kanga Village's beekeeping project. 

*Donations will be matched between 12:01am EDT and 11:59pm EDT on June 13th, up to $1,000 per donor. 


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Organization Information

African Rainforest Conservancy (ARC)

Location: New York, NY - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Tony Cacace
New York, NY United States

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