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Engage farmers in reversing deforestion in Zambia

by WeForest
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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
Agness T.
Agness T.

In Zambia we are engaging with more than 800 small-scale families to change their dependency on charcoal production for cooking or earning an income. For example through forestry training, beehives and trainings on permaculture or plant nursery, to diversify their skills.

One of those small-scale farmers is Agness T, who joined us in 2017 after retiring as a nurse. She first attended training on plant nursery and now started her own home-based nursery. Especially her orange trees are doing great, and the upcoming harvest will add to her current income. She also has five beehives, of which four are currently occupied, so even more income from honey is on its way.

Finneas and Rita M. are another example of farmers that take the new practices learnt at their hearts. They organised their land very well, with a successful nursery and various livestock positioned around their central home, making management easy and effective. They also recently added five beehives and soon they will start reaping the benefits from this as well.

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Women in Permaculture leading the way in Zambia
Women in Permaculture leading the way in Zambia

 

Farmers in Zambia, as in many other countries in Africa, often cause deforestation as trees are generally the only way for them to cook or earn an extra income through charcoal production. It is therefore that WeForest is engaging with more than 800 small-scale farmer families to change this and to find ways that farmers can make a little extra money with the use of the trees, without the need to chop them down.
One of these farmers is Maggie. 

After following a plant nursery training course at WeForest training center, Maggie started to grow fruit tree seedlings from seeds in her own nursery in her garden, grafting and selling them. She also engaged in developing a permaculture garden with the support of WeForest.

During a recent visit she says: ´Thanks to the WeForest training and equipment they provided, I’ve now learnt a valuable skill that I can bring into practice without investing or losing out on other sources of income. I hope to expand my nursery and permaculture as more people buy my products.´

 

 

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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

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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

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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
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Organization Information

WeForest

Location: Brussels - Belgium
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @WeForest_org
Project Leader:
Louise Tideman
Overijse, Belgium
$20,679 raised of $30,000 goal
 
391 donations
$9,321 to go
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