In July 2016, the Kikandwa community came together to discuss the negative impacts of climate change. Many farmers were noticing environmental changes that were harming harvests and food security. Together, the group identified beekeeping as a community-based solution to environmental degradation, climate change, and food insecurity. A local beekeeping “guru” came to the village and taught a group of 30 farmers how to begin and maintain a beekeeping operation. Some of his lessons included building and placing hives, planting bee-friendly fodder trees, and harvesting the honey.
Of the 30 farmers, Leonard felt the most connected to this project. He took it upon himself to expand the beekeeping operation in Kikandwa following the guidelines he learned in the workshop (including sealing, waterproofing, and temperature control for hive construction as well as hive placement and relocation). He has helped construct 70 new hives since the workshop last summer.
The beekeeping project made important strides in fighting back against climate change in Kikandwa. The planting of more than 300 trees provides fodder for bees, aids in reforesting degraded landscapes, and increases biodiversity. This, in turn, will help the community adapt to changing environmental conditions. These adaptations help farmers produce in a way that is resilient to drastic changes, ensuring community food security.
Additionally, Leonard and the other farmers have already produced and harvested about 300 kilograms of honey, or about 1,750 USD worth. Although they save some personal consumption, much of it is sold, producing additional income for the families. Farmers are using this income to reinvest in the beekeeping projects as well as for personal needs such as paying for their children’s school fees. Each year, farmers will become more efficient (by learning from the previous year’s successes and mistakes), build more hives, and the regional drought subsides. This will then help farmers to increase their harvest totals.