Our Green Story begins with The Elephant and The Bee, in villages bordering Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. A place where giants visit in the night.
Every year around harvest time, the community fear of elephants entering their village in the dark of night, eating and trampling their way through the fields, destroying up to a year’s supply of food. Rather than attack the elephants, which can have fatal consequences for both people and elephants, these farmers want to work with bees, using these small, hard-working insects as their security guards.
Two village groups, Upendo and Mungu ni Mwema, are joining together to learn how to become beekeepers. Their goal is to work with the bees to solve the problem of elephants’ crop-raiding.
Elephants are terrified of bees. Yes, it is rather like the story of David and the Goliath, the young boy who defeated the giant. The largest land animal is so terrified of this tiny insect that it will avoid it as much as possible. The elephant may be thick-skinned, but a bee up its’ trunk is as bad as it gets! And so, the beekeeping group is planning to build a 3km stretch of bee-hive fences. Top-bar hives (or even dummy hives… as an “elephant never forgets”) will hang every 10 meters, linked together on wires along the borders of the farms.
When an elephant touches the wire or a hive, the bees will come to the defence and scare the elephant back the way it came. Beehive fences offer more than just a live security fence for crops. They are home to honeybees, so farmers can harvest honey and beeswax which they can sell and turn into value added products to generate cash income to pay for things like school fees and supplies and medical care. The honeybees increase pollination of crops and local fruit trees too, though this is a story for another day…
We are excited to be working with our local partner, Amigos, to facilitate this project with the Upendo and Mungu ni Mwema groups. Beekeeping training will be integrated with training in conservation agriculture as well as business and marketing training.
This project offers a real chance for a solution to the human-elephant conflict and helps create a social and economic boost to a once war-torn and poverty-stricken community. A sustainable solution for both wildlife conservation and community welfare.
Our Green Story continues with The Bee and The Beans. For this story we buzz across to West Africa, to Sierra Leone and an area that is recovering from a civil war, an epidemic (Ebola), a pandemic (COVID) and is battling against food insecurity…