do no harm
Creating sustainable incomes for people in developing countries is a vital step in ensuring access to the kind of economic resilience required to lift people out of poverty. The watchword here is ‘sustainable’. Development organisations and NGOs globally have environmental concerns as a subtext to all their operations.
The idea for the Musanya Honey Co. was born out of a concern for the people, forests and wildlife of Zambia. In parts of the country where the rural poor carve a subsistence living out of the land, human needs appear to outweigh environmental concerns. We have made it our duty to introduce these communities to sustainable income-generation through beekeeping.
For generations, people living in and around the Miombo Woodlands have grown crops, herded livestock and foraged among the trees to survive. On the face of it, clearing an acre of land to plant maize may not be problematic in isolation. with growing populations worldwide however, every acre cleared is multiplied a thousand times.
Viewed like this, it’s not hard to see how some of the most precious natural resources on the planet might be wiped out within a generation. And it happens one acre at a time.
Where the income from planting an acre isn’t enough, people naturally find other ways to earn an income. This leads to activities that potentially more destructive. In the sub-tropical woodlands of the Angolan Highlands, the Southern DRC and parts of Zambia charcoal is a ‘cash crop’. The demand for cooking fuel is huge, and without an alternative, the forest suffers.
Although excellent programmes are in place to make charcoal production more sustainable, Musanya offers an alternative that is both non-destructive and more lucrative than the back-breaking work of making charcoal. Sustainable incomes for communities are vital. As incomes and access to education improves so energy alternatives such as electricity or natural gas become an option for poor communities.
Hive of Activity
Our beekeeping programmes have a further environmental benefit for the planet and that involves the bees. Modern bee husbandry methods do not hurt or kill bees in fact they create and encourage healthy swarms.
By splitting swarms of wild bees and accommodating them in our hives, beekeepers are improving the size and diversity of this vital organism. Bees are central to food security for humans as they pollenate almost all our staple crops. Without them, life on the planet would become unsustainable.
Musanya Honey Co. is very proud of its mission to use the natural flora and fauna of the Miombo Woodland biosphere to create livelihoods for the people of the region. With simple tools and in balance with the natural order, sustainable beekeeping is making a difference to families in a remote corner of Africa.