Chome conservators devise Shengena honey label

Chome conservators devise Shengena honey label

CONSERVATION activities around Chome Nature Forest Reserve (CNFR) are paying handsomely with those who used to encroach the reserved area now engaging in beekeeping and have produced their label – Shengena Honey.

Speaking at Ndolwa village in Vudee Ward recently, villagers bordering the unique mountain rain forest in the South Pare Mountains in Kilimanjaro region, said they have reached a good stage economically, thanks to sponsorship by the Eastern Arc Mountains Conservation Endowment Fund (EAMCEF).

Mr William Mnzava, one of leaders of Mkombozi Group that was initiated in 2017 with 17 members now owns 100 beehives that have been put near the forest, adding that the bees are also being used as ‘soldiers’ against environmental degraders, particularly people who fell trees in the forest.

“The main purpose of keeping the bees is to keep the forest green, stop cutting of trees or setting fire, but also empower people economically, especially those who live near the forest. Now that we have come up with our own honey label – Shengena, we pack it ourselves and sell it,” said Mr Mnzava.

Out of 100 beehives, EAMCEF supported 60 of them, noted Mr Mnzava, adding that so far they have sold honey amounting to 450 kilogrammes.

EAMCEF also supported the beekeepers with honey-harvesting equipment and uniforms as well as raised awareness among them on importance of environmental conservation.

He further said the maintenance of natural vegetation and to ensure water flow is maintained, is another aim of the EAMCEF in the Arc Mountains, adding that it can be achieved if it rains. The nature reserve forests are under the Tanzania Forests Services Agency (TFS).

Water from the CNFR is used for home use as well as for growing crops, including keeping the forest thick.

On his part, Ndolwa Village Executive Officer, Mr Yasir Ramadhani hailed the EAMCEF for supporting the people in raising awareness and getting more income from economic activities it initiates, saying that there is no more cutting of trees, because it offers land for the people to put beehives.

Commenting, Mhero Village Environment Committee Chairman, Mr Safil Japhet said it was proving difficult to control people in environmental conservation until EAMCEF would offer them uniforms and equipment they needed.

Another member, Ms Esther Manongi, said the uniforms provided make them identified and respected by the public as well as perpetrators, adding that now there is discipline among members of the public in the district.

Conservation Department Official in Chome Nature Reserve Forest, Mr Samwel Mpaning’ombe said the conservation committees in the district, supported by EAMCEF are very important in conserving nature and the fruits of their work can be clearly seen.

EAMCEF Projects Coordinator in the Northern Zone, Ms Magreth Victor says the Fund works with CNFR in clearing the borders, patrolling, bringing back natural vegetation as well as providing environment committees with uniforms and files for keeping their records.

CNFR was established in 1951. It forms part of Eastern Arc Mountain group and is located in South Pare Mountain. Locally it is known as Shengena Forest.

The reserve covers total area of 14,283 ha and total length of 67 km.

EAMCEF is a Fund that was established and functions as a long-term and reliable funding mechanism to support community development, biodiversity conservation and applied research projects that promote the biological diversity, ecological functions and sustainable use of natural resources in the Eastern Arc Mountains.

Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter in Dodoma

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