Sunday, 11 November 2018

Climate Change Reduces Honey Production In Muchinga

By Paul Shalala in Mafinga
Mr Nyondo displaying little honey he has harvested


Beekeepers in Muchinga Province are likely to make loses this year due to the adverse effects of climate change which has made bees eat their own honey.

In Mafinga and Isoka Districts, beekeepers have told this blogger that due to the unexpected strong winds and high temperatures, bees have stopped coming out of the hives and are eating their own produce.

This is a huge drawback for some residents whose main occupation is beekeeping.

With its dense woodlands, Muchinga Province is a perfect place for beekeepers to conduct their business.

In Mafinga District alone, 45 farmers are full time honey producers.

These farmers were first trained in honey production by the Department of Forestry in 2005 and they have been keeping bees for business for 13 years now.

Every year, they harvest honey and make money.

But this year, business is hard.

“We are making losses this year due to winds and high temperature. The bees are not coming out and this will lead us to losses. Because they are not coming out, they are eating the honey inside the hives,” said Lenwick Nyondo, the Chairperson of the Muleya Beekeepers Association in Mafinga District.

Mr Nyondo says the change inweather will affect his earnings this year.

“In a typical year, I make between K10,000 and K20,000 but this year, we may be down to K5,000,” he added.

For authorities, the effects of climate change on this lucrative business is very worrying.

“From my frequent tours in the district, beekeepers are complaining of climate change. The weather has really affected them. But we are hopeful that maybe next year the farmers can have better business than this year,” said Kennedy Banda, the District Forestry Officer for Mafinga.

Apart from Mafinga, Isoka is another district in Muchinga Province which has been affected by climate change.

Here too, beekeepers are crying of reduced yields due to high temperatures and wind.

For a number of honey producers, honey badgers have also brought down their hives, dealing a big blow to their business.

At Mr Nyondo’s farm, two hives were spotted on the ground after they were attacked by honey badgers which are common in the area.

Beekeeping is a relatively new business in Muchinga Province.

In Zambia, the North Western Province leads in the production of honey due to its unending woodlands and favourable climate.

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