by Yves Hausser, President of ADAP and Jean-Félix Savary, Head of Inyonga Project
A Bee Reserve is a new kind of community-based protected area. The idea was created in 1999 as part of the Government of Tanzania’s Beekeeping Policy to protect bees and to further develop village-based beekeeping. ADAP has been working in Tanzania since September 2001 on a programme to support the establishment and management of a Bee Reserve in Inyonga, Tarafa, in southwestern Tanzania.
The forests of Inyonga area are some of the least disturbed, wild ecosystems in Africa. They are located between the protected areas of Katavi National Park, Rukwa-Lukwati Game Reserve and Ugalla Game Reserve, yet are still unprotected. Beekeeping has a tradition in the area and presents numerous advantages compared with other Natural Resources Management (NRM) activities. Beekeeping is environmentally friendly and contributes directly to the effective protection of the whole ecosystem by ensuring the long-term protection of the forests, whilst generating income for local communities, and, it relies on local knowledge and skills. Goldapis, a Tanzanian company that is marketing bee products, has been very active in the Inyonga area for the last six years. Through seminars in villages Goldapis have managed to improve honey quality, and achieved honey export from Inoynga to the European Union. This has consequently raised the price for good quality honey in the region and has helped in the development of the beekeeping sector.
Recent trends show that human pressure on natural resources is increasing due to both immigration (5.8 %, the highest rate in the country) and the lack of alternatives for those who contribute to the degradation of the environment by deforestation for tobacco cultivation and poaching for bush meat. The recent extension of protected areas has led to serious conflicts between beekeepers and organisations in charge of the management of national parks and game reserves.
To address these issues, in May 2002 ADAP organised a workshop in Mpanda, Rukwa District. The workshop informed about the project purposes, as well as allowing a general exchange of views between all the stakeholders concerned with beekeeping in the area. Among the participants were the Director of the National Beekeeping Division, Dominic Kihwele; representatives of the Wildlife Division; TANAPA (Tanzania National Parks); regional (district) and local governments (Tarafa and villages); beekeepers, as well as representatives of international organisations including Africare, GTZ (Germany), Swissaid and private companies including Goldapis Ltd and Cullman & Hurt (trophy hunting).
The Hon Mr Mpinda, Deputy Minister of the local government opened the workshop and expressed his wholehearted support for a project that would assist beekeeping development in a way that benefited local producers and preserved the environment. The first day included the presentation of papers on NRM and beekeeping questions. For the second two days participants were divided into groups and worked with SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) methodology to identify key issues for the beekeeping sector.
The workshop was held in Swahili, and sometimes in local languages including Konongo and Sukuma. This encouraged the participation of the elders and was part of the reason for the workshop’s success. During three days, an animated debate took place on how to integrate beekeeping with other NRM activities. The workshop was able to establish bridges between stakeholders who never communicated before, and participation was far greater than anticipated. Feedback showed that both the villagers and the beekeepers were happy to be fully involved in the process.
The Wildlife Division, TANAPA, GTZ and the trophy hunting companies showed a collaborative attitude in the workshop, and this will probably permit the legal return of beekeeping to protected and game management areas. These results show the importance of keeping the bottom-up, participative approach that ADAP had initiated and planned. It shows as well the importance of establishing and formalising links between stakeholders.
The main issues identified were:
Difficulties confronting the development of beekeeping are:
Another area that was identified was the need for professionalism in beekeeping in order to increase honey and wax production and quality while decreasing impact on the environment. The introduction of modern hives, made from local materials to limit their cost, has been identified as one way of achieving these goals.
Poverty was identified as one of the main obstacles to the long-term conservation of natural resources in the area since it forces people to continue non-sustainable practices to maintain their daily existence. Economic alternatives to poaching and deforestation for tobacco cultivation must be found; the development of beekeeping activities and ecotourism present opportunities to create employment and generate income for local communities without increasing the pressure on the ecosystem.
The next steps for ADAP support are:
The project is now underway. All the stakeholders expressed a willingness to collaborate in the project, to increase the contribution of beekeeping to the local and regional economy while contributing to the long-term conservation of the whole ecosystem.
ADAP Association for the Development of Protected Areas is an NGO based in Geneva, Switzerland that supports community-based NRM in Africa. For more information see www.adap.ch
[Bees for Development Journal #64]