Apiculture to transform lives in Bulilima

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BY SHARON SIBINDI IN KHAME

BEE-KEEPING is a mitigation strategy to deal with climate challenge in Zimbabwe, a climate change mitigation expert Lawrence Mashungu has said.

Mashungu made the sentiments during a one-week bee-keeping training programme in Khame’s ward 22 area in Bulilima East, Plumtree, organised by the United Nations Development Programme working together with government.

The programme, with support from the Russian government towards implementing Zimbabwe’s Nationally Determined Contributions under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change saw 50 participants from four villages in the ward acquiring bee-keeping knowledge.

“Bee-keeping is a mitigation measure because when people keep bees, they will stop deforestation and, therefore, conserve carbon syncs,” Mashungu said.

“It is a very important mitigation measure because people will now see the value of keeping the tree because they are getting other products from the trees like honey.”

The programme, which entertained all age groups, saw the participants getting equipped with knowledge on how to do bee-keeping as a business and also record keeping.

Mashungu said he was happy with the participants’ enthusiasm in acquiring bee-keeping skills, which can become a game changer in the drought-prone area.

Zimbabwe has been exporting honey in the past years, generating the much-needed foreign currency, but the exports have been dropping in recent years.

Matabeleland South forestry extension officer Fortunes Matutu said they deliberately promoted bee-keeping as a strategy to forest management, creating value for the forests often viewed as idle land.

“We work in various projects to promote non-timber forest products, of which honey is also part of. So people sustain their livelihoods from the forests without necessarily cutting the wood. At the end of the day, it will address issues of deforestation and also along the chain, other issues of climate change and land degradation,” Matutu said.

“The programme, if well implemented, will change the lives of the people in the community and also empower many. People will also get money to be used to build schools and clinics, which are serious challenge in the ward,” ward 22 councillor Philip Mpofu said.

The area has a huge number of school dropouts due to lack of schools.

“Most youths in our community have nothing to do. Some roam around the ward and end up doing bad things. Some get drunk then, end up beating people, raping or killing each other. So we welcome this programme because it will reduce a number of these cases,” 21-year-old Revonia Ndlovu said.

One of the participants, Perceive Sebele (17), who failed to pursue her studies due to financial challenges, said: “I only have a Grade 7 certificate. I am not educated. I hope this will be a turning point in my life. I want to become a business lady and through this project, change my lifestyle and that of my parents.”