Honey and beeswax production in Manyoni District, Singida Region is likely to decline in the near future, because of growing number of cash crop and livestock farmers who encroach on forests and destroy them.
The district executive director, Supeet Mseya told The Guardian Monday that the farmers and livestock keepers are from Mwanza and Shinyanga regions.
After observing that water sources especially in woodland forests are almost drying up, making it difficult for bees to access water and flowers for honey production, Manyoni District Council has begun training village, ward and division executive officers on environmental conservation for them to check people who cut down trees.
“The main goal of the training is to help the leaders educate villagers on environmental issues and prevent them from cutting down trees for various human activities,” he said.
The training was conducted on November 15, this year in Manyoni District Council during which a total of 134 village, ward and divisional executive officers were involved.
Besides environmental conservation issues, the training also hinged on rights and responsibilities of the villagers and on the importance of the National Health Insurance Fund.
Of the leaders, 99 were village executive officers, 30 ward executives and fuve divisional officers.
“We have decided to train them because we fear that the more people, especially, livestock keepers from different regions move into the district, the higher will be the risks of our forests to destruction,” he said.
He said at the moment woodland forests and thickets in many areas across the district have greatly been affected as many farmers and pastoralists frequent the areas in search of pastures for cattle.
For example, indigenous tree species like woodland forests and thickets at Jeje, Chikola, Itigi and Mgori villages in Manyoni Districts have disappeared due to agricultural activities and illegal grazing.
“I call upon the National Environment Management Council (NEMC) to take strict measures against those engaging in these activities in the district besides educating them on environmental conservation. Otherwise, in two years time the villages will become a desert and we will not have enough areas for honey production.” he said.
Although the district has already put in place a law that prohibits illegal cutting of trees, still farmers continue to mow down the trees.
Human ecology of the area including vegetation has also affected by ongoing livestock keeping activities, charcoal production and tobacco in other area.
Beekeepers are now suffering massive economic dislocation because of destruction of Jeje and Chikola forests, he said.
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