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Engage farmers in reversing deforestion in Zambia

by WeForest
Engage farmers in reversing deforestion in Zambia
Engage farmers in reversing deforestion in Zambia
Engage farmers in reversing deforestion in Zambia
Engage farmers in reversing deforestion in Zambia
Engage farmers in reversing deforestion in Zambia
Engage farmers in reversing deforestion in Zambia
Engage farmers in reversing deforestion in Zambia
Bee steward Alfred
Bee steward Alfred

Did you know that in a world without bees we would lose about 70% of all fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Bees are not only great for our food production, they are also great helpers when it comes to promoting forest restoration, as the bee pollination itself helps the forest regenerate. With currently 16% of bee species having disappeared, WeForest has started to install beehives and train families, in cooperation with local enterprises, to become bee stewards.

In Zambia, there are now 2.540 beehives installed across all WeForest farmers. In July alone, the 151 hives that were harvested have produced 21.5 kg per hive on average. This means that each farmer could increase their annual income with more or less $150, considering that the average annual income is around $300 per year, this means a 50% increase.

An example of a new bee steward is Alfred. At his forest restoration plot, he has five beehives. He used to have beehives before the project already, though they all burnt in a wildfire. Therefore the top bar beehives of WeForest are now hanging in the canopy of mature trees and therefore are protected from those fires. Last July, when harvesting honey from three out of the five beehives, they produced an average of 40 kg per hive and an incredible total of 122 kg. Needless to say, Alfred is thrilled to be given this opportunity and only more motivated to keep caring for his forest...

So, time to express our thanks to our little winged friends and of course to you, for your support in restoring the forests and helping to give local communities income alternatives.

Beehive in tree
Beehive in tree
Positioning beehives in the trees
Positioning beehives in the trees

Links:

Veronica S. showing her small-scale tree nursery
Veronica S. showing her small-scale tree nursery

Female farmers participating in our project can apply for an additional training: the "Plant Nursery Management Training".
In two days, they learn how to sow seeds, grow plants, graft and even bud trees!

One of the 15 trainees who completed their 2-day training, is Mrs.Veronica S*. As of today, she is able to grow her own trees in her own nursery. Altough her nursery is in its beginning phase, Veronica is already planning to expand it: she would like to grow and sell fruit and timber saplings to farmers in her neighbourhood. This allows her to diversify her income.  

Thanks to your support, we can support Veronica and other farmers in the Copperbelt region to obtain a 2-day training that will help them become more financially independent and obtain a more stable source of income. 


*Family name was removed to protect Veronica's privacy.

Female farmers learning to graft and bud trees
Female farmers learning to graft and bud trees

Links:

Thandi with her children on their farm
Thandi with her children on their farm

Planting trees and restoring forests only make sense if you can ensure the trees will thrive in the long term. For that, you need the local communities to see more value in standing trees than in felled forests. In the Copperbelt region of Zambia, WeForest supports hundreds of farmers in restoring plots of native woodland on their farms that have been over-exploited for charcoal production. In the short term, farmers and their families benefit from our forestry training, get access to beehives and efficient wood cooking stoves, and plant grafted fruit trees to diversify their sources of livelihood. In the long term, this project helps farmers secure ownership of land, which will ensure the conservation and livelihood outcomes are long-lasting.

Thandi* is one of the project’s beneficiaries. She is 32 years old and lives together with her husband, two children and a newborn on their 9.7 hectare farm in Luanshya. Since the loss of her husband’s parents, Thandi and her husband no longer had the manpower to cultivate their farm. They were struggling to get enough income to feed the family and send the children to school.

Thandi's husband participated in our two-day training covering, among other topics, the economic benefits of forestry. Since parts of his farm already started to turn back into forest, he was convinced that this was the right project for him to join. In the first year, the family can earn approximately 500 ZMW only by harvesting and selling honey from the beehives installed on trees. This represents a substantial increase to a farming family’s income, which averages at approximately 3 000 ZMW per year. As Thandi explains: “The loss of my husband’s parents did not only touch us emotionally, it also made us financially more vulnerable. With this project, we hope to diversify and increase our farm income, without more labour for us.”

In Zambia, forest restoration and climate change mitigation go hand in hand with livelihood development. Thanks to your support, we can help Thandi and other families in the Copperbelt region implement simple, cost-efficient and effective solutions to both local and global issues.

*Name was edited to protect the privacy of the project participants.

Assembling a new beehive
Assembling a new beehive
Aerial view of the farm woodlands
Aerial view of the farm woodlands
Farmers in Luanshya mounting a new beehive
Farmers in Luanshya mounting a new beehive

As part of our efforts to restore the Miombo woodlands in Zambia, we are engaging local farmers in beekeeping and honey production. Since May 2017, 121 more beehives were mounted, which means that the total number of beehives across the intervention site rose to 990.

The first honey harvest is expected in December 2018. One beehive will easily be able to produce $20 in revenue per year. With enough space for around 4 beehives per hectare of woodland, each family can earn cca $80 per year per hectare. This represents a substantial increase to their existing income, which averages at $300 per year.

To manage the marketing and commercialization of the agro-forestry products produced by the farmers, WeForest supported the creation of the Luanshya Farm Forest Association. The association has 10 board members, four of whom are women, representing farmers from every area in the district. The first board meetings were held in July and August 2017.

Farmers from each area have also selected one of them to be their beekeeping mentor. In July 2017, mentors received training in beehive assembly and mounting, honey harvest, proper use of protective clothing and general bookkeeping. Now they are supporting their communities in honey production and beehive maintenance, assisting approximately 100 farmers living near them.

In Zambia, finding alternative sources of income is an inherent part of sustainable forest restoration. Thanks to your support, we can continue devising solutions that benefit people, planet and climate!

Beehives are mounted on trees in restoration areas
Beehives are mounted on trees in restoration areas
4 beehives will increase a family
4 beehives will increase a family's income by 27%
Sakami M. with her child, mother and grandmother
Sakami M. with her child, mother and grandmother

Holding her infant child and standing between her mother and grandmother, this is Sakani M. These four generations of women live under one roof. Sakani and her family have a 9-hectare subsistence farm where they grow vegetables and maize - a staple across the Luanshya district in the Zambian Copperbelt. Sakani recently joined the forest restoration program and committed to returning one hectare on the family's farm to forest through assisted natural regeneration.

Why? The stream that used to run through their land all year now dries up for a number of months. Some of the ways trees and forests contribute to the water cycle are common knowledge: trees enable water from precipitations to infiltrate through soils and recharge the groundwater, they prevent topsoil erosion and lower the risk of floods. There is less awareness of the role forests have in actually triggering precipitation. Tiny organic particles released by trees ascend into the upper atmosphere and serve as surfaces on which water vapor can condense. Condensed water vapor forms clouds that will shower lands below them with rain and reflect solar energy back into space, providing a natural cooling effect.

Sakani and her community are restoring Miombo woodlots as a way to recharge their water resources. Regenerated forests will also increase biodiversity and the number of pollinators for their crops, securing their food supply. Food and water - two basic needs are being disrupted by deforestation and climate change. Thanks to your support, we can help Sakani and others in her community implement a simple, cost-efficient and effective solution to both local and global issues.

Arid farmland in the Luanshya district
Arid farmland in the Luanshya district
Tree nursery with seedlings ready to be planted
Tree nursery with seedlings ready to be planted
 

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Organization Information

WeForest

Location: Overijse - Belgium
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WeForest_org
Project Leader:
Maurah Van Impe
Overijse, Belgium
$16,046 raised of $20,000 goal
 
254 donations
$3,954 to go
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