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Bringing Back the Green and the Bees

“As a young man growing up next to the forest, I loved to accompany my dad to the forest where he kept a number of traditional log beehives. It was fun. I always looked forward to the nature walk amidst the pristine majestic forest. Back then honey was part of dowry payment. We had such a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with the Marenje Community Forest.

When I retired from civil service almost 15 years ago, I embarked on a journey. I decided to carry my late father’s legacy and began to transform myself and my community through beekeeping.
While many people only appreciate bees for the honey they give freely, there is a crucial thing we forget - bees are pollinators and very critical organisms in our lives. Bees give us our food, put quite literally. But they depend heavily on forests and forested areas to pick up their nectar and thrive. Having a healthy forest is equivalent to having healthy bees and in return humans get to have food in plenty.

With our forests gone, then the bees easily relocate. We, residents of Marenje will be the biggest losers. Through the training and learning by WWF-Kenya we have endeavored to integrate beekeeping business with forest conservation. The portion of my piece of land where I have set aside for beekeeping is forested.
I implore upon my son to embrace all these aspects of conservation agriculture by training him and mentoring him. Beekeeping is a more technical craft with limited labour. I encourage my fellow community members to embrace it as its returns are equally sweet.

I have also established wood lots within my farm in order not to interfere with the integrity of our community forest. This ensures that I have wood fuel throughout the year and also get to sell the surplus. I am currently on a mission to encourage my community members to constantly plant trees especially during rainy seasons not just in the nearby forests but also on their farms with an aim of environmental conservation and also for domestic purposes.  The message to my community members is our forests are no longer a source of firewood, but rather for rendering ecosystem services.” Simeon Mwanyumba - beekeeper

Simeon Mwanyumba is a beekeeper living next to Marenje Community Forest. He stays on guard to protect the forest because in his own word he has tasted the benefits of conservation. Simeon is a member of Msambweni Beekeepers Association who are partners with WWF-Kenya in the implementation of the Public-Private-People Partnerships Project to save Coastal Kenya Forests.

This project is part of the International Climate Initiative (IKI). The Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU) supports this initiative on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.