Building Resilient Communities
Musanya Honey Co. is, as the name suggests, a company that gathers and sells honey. This golden liquid is at the centre of our business of course, but we exist because of people. If honey is the heart of Musanya, then people are its soul.
The idea for Musanya Honey was first sparked when our founder, Jacques Hurter was touring parts of Zambia. He was looking at ways in which beekeeping could be used to help curb poaching and deforestation in trans-frontier wildlife reserves.
Beekeeping is a traditional pursuit in the region. Wild bees proliferate among the indigenous deciduous and semi-deciduous trees which flower prodigiously after the tropical rains here. Hives made of tree bark have been used to harvest honey in the woodlands of Zambia, the DRC and the Angolan highlands for centuries.
As he travelled, Hurter was struck by the poverty of people in areas with a wealth of bees and potential honey production. People were wrestling a living from fields cleared at the forest’s, while honey dripped just a few strides away among the trees.
Superb Forest Honey
Wild bees, sustainably farmed, are a source of money that can improve lives. Yet only a few old-fashioned bark hives were scattered here and there by isolated traditional beekeepers. Furthermore, the honey here is of superb quality. It is good enough to grace the shelves of the world’s finest supermarkets.
It occurred to Jacques that with some training and a supply of modern hives and protective equipment, communities at the edge of these beautiful trees could become self-sufficient. Honey could bring revenue into these far-flung places, building resilient communities and drawing them into the global economy.
The Musanya Honey Co. was set up to be collaborative and consultative, working through community structures already in place to create a network of bee farmers. Conversations began with local chiefs and community leaders to introduce the ideas and benefits of beekeeping.
With their agreement, families in various target areas with pristine expanses of woodland were contacted. Community involvement was key in identifying various role players too. Lead farmers trained to oversee and inspect hives were put forward by the community. Honey harvesters to be trained and equipped in each region were chosen in community meetings.
Families are the centre of the community, and with our beekeeping families identified, the broader community in the Miombo Woodlands has come out to support them.
Awareness of the value of the environment, (the trees and the bees) is spreading. Making them a precious commodity has ensure the survival of the flora and fauna and guaranteed a thriving human community in the region.