Tanzania – Bees are also affected by environmental degradation.

Mr Ramadhani S. Makunka lives in Mwembe village; he was raised in a family engaged in beekeeping. He informs that, his father Mzee Salim Makunka who was living in Barazani hamlet had about 40 traditional beehives. He said that his father made the beehives himself and that he kept most of the hives at Mkonga area. Ramadhani informs that from the 1969 to 1987 beekeeping was good! He said that their family could produce good quality honey which could be kept for 4 to five years and was sometimes used as food during times of food scarcity. He informs that, during that time a tin of honey with the capacity to carry twenty (20) litres was sold at 25Tshs or exchanged by one mature goat within the village. He also said that, the honey was used for fines during handling of local conflicts by elders.

Mr Ramadhani informs that sisal farms around the area supported growth of bees but starting from 1977 to 1986 sisal farms around Mwembe village were given to local people who turned them to farms. He informed that sisal plants were good for the bees. He further reveals that the changing of many sisal farms to smaller farms owned by local villagers and significant environmental degradation in many areas surrounding the village has affected bees.

Mr Ramadhani says that; from 1990 to 2013, the number of honey bees has dramatically been reduced due to not only environmental degradation by deforestation and poor agricultural practices but also wider use of pesticides in distant areas such as Ruvu Jiungeni. He says that if plants flowers are poisoned by pesticides, bees are also affected as many die from the chemicals. He informs that usually bees migrate to follow water and better areas to produce honey.

He reveals that currently, honey is sold at Tshs 5,000 per ½ litre and that the demand of honey is high.

Mr Ramadhani Makunka in Mwembe village

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traditional honey bees near Mwembe village