The project that is also supporting beekeeping enterprises in Rubirizi and Kasese districts handed over beehives to two Community Based Organisations (CBOs), Buzenga Environmental Conservation Association (BUECA) and Mubuku Integrated Farmers Association (MIFA) Beekeeping is a suitable intervention because it helps in pollinating plants hence boosting crop production, supplementing diet and income generation. These initiatives can both potentially help reduce the effects of climate change. The handover was held at Karambi Secondary School on March 26th, 2013.
“This project [biogas] will go a long way in saving the school from cutting part of the school forest for firewood. It will also greatly relieve the school of enormous expenditure on firewood,” said the Karambi headmaster, Mr. Abenawe Constantine.
The Chairman LC 5, Kasese, called the biogas “a revolution” adding that climate change “is another world war” that should be taken seriously. He said such clean energy interventions need to be integrated at the local level. “As a district we will continue to work with development partners because we have the interest,” he said. He called on the school to maintain the biogas unit well and asked the beehives beneficiaries to use them well. “More support will come from the success you demonstrate now.”
The project manager, Mr. Gerald Kairu, said biogas is cheaper and reduces deforestation in an important ecosystem zone like Kasese. Kairu said that the biogas minimizes health problems related to smoke and the biogas manure – the by-product obtained from the biogas plant after the digestion of biomas – can increase crop production. He said the gas from human waste has no odours and cooks as well as any other cooking gas.
Kasese is a WWF champion district for clean energy and is promoting the use of solar energy, biogas and improved cook stoves.
In Rubirizi, Buzenga Environmental Conservation Association (BUECA) was the beneficiary of 65 beehives and protective gear. In Kasese it was Mubuku Integrated Farmers Association (MIFA).
“Without our work, the Kasyoha-Kitomi forest would be degraded,” said the BUECA chairperson, Mr. Wilson Turyahikayo. Members of BUECA have been engaged in beekeeping for a while and the association has 150 beehives.
Before they got the support, BUECA only had one pair of protective gear. BUECA members are also involved in piggery, goat rearing, tree planting for carbon management and have planted indigenous trees with support from Eco-Trust. The group also manages a nursery bed.
“We would wish for support in agro-forestry, conservation of lake shores and other conservation activities.” Turyahikayo requested for metallic stands which keep the beehives in place and prevents them from falling. He pledged that they would look after the beehives well. BUECA got a site for the beehives from the National Forestry Authority (NFA) at Nyamushekye. “We are grateful to NFA because we didn’t have a place to put the beehives.” The NFA Kasyoha-Kitoma sector manager said bee-keeping supplements the vision of NFA to sustainably manage forest reserves.
The members were advised to have a good structure through which to share the benefits when they start harvesting the honey. “Ensure that the beehives are well maintained or they will be invaded by rodents,” one veteran beekeeper advised.
Beekeeping is environmental friendly, easy to do alongside other farming activities and can significantly minimize forest degradation as an alternative source of livelihood. “The plan is to support the whole value chain,” said Mr. Kairu, “and soon the project will be linking honey farmers to the markets.”
The WWF-UCO Conservation Manager, Mr. Thomas Otim, said the beehives were a pilot demonstration from which other groups should learn. He stressed the importance of producing quality honey and good packaging. “Financial management is important and you should be able to expand by yourselves.”