In Zimbabwe crop production and beekeeping fall under Agriculture. Beekeeping can be integrated quite well with crop production. Bees play a major role in crop production through pollination services. Bees are also very important in that they also produce products which human beings can consume and make use of. Whenever bees pollinate crops improved yield and quality of seed are realized. The improved yield/ production ensure food security.
The forest is also a very important habitat for bees and honey production can also take place under such an environment. Forests are sources of a wide range of bee fodder that produces nectar which is used in honey production. The integration of Forests and Crop farming (Agro-forestry) with beekeeping brings a very important initiative in poverty eradication. Bees can be kept in the forests and can only be moved to crop fields whenever they are needed for pollination.
I have personally experienced this practice in several communities and I have together with my team set up a livelihood model where Agro-forestry is integrated with beekeeping. From this set up/ initiative we have realized lots of livelihood options that include:
- Honey production
- Bees wax production
- Harvesting of herbal plants
- Production of sunflowers, fruits, pumpkins, beans etc
- Oil extraction from sunflower seed
- Sunflower cake resulting from oil extraction
- Mushroom harvesting from the forests
- Poles and firewood from the forests
We are using beekeeping in our communities as tools to drive tree planting programs, crop production and fire prevention