Biodiversity conservation through promotion of agro and natural biodiversity enterprises, sustainable utilization of oxytenathera abssynica for livelihoods enhancement and poverty alleviation.
About the Implementing organization
Name: STAGE ZIMBABWE
Year of establishment: 2009
Type of organization: Community-based association or organization, Legally recognized non-profit status, Community enterprise or business
The innovations involve the production, processing, labelling and packaging of organic honey; sustainable harvesting of the oxytenathera abssynica a bamboo specie for crafts; processing of tuber (yams, sweet potatoes, ginger; processing fruit juices & dried snacks (litchi, bananas, mapenga ~ traditional fruit, mangoes) by the local communities. The communities developed from mere conservation to community based biodiversity conservation enterprise development. The innovation is “not business-as-usual in that they used to sell raw honey, crafts and unprocessed fruits and tuber to local markets usually at the road sides that were not sustainable. The project facilitated the skills development through exchange training workshops in India and China thus transforming from traditional weaving into more viable income generating crafts production. After the visit, project member come up with 12 new designs. In addition, weavers can now supply wares to the art galleries, national handcraft centres and foreign markets and they participate in tourism marketing expos such as Sanganai/Hlanganani Travel Expo. Income from sale of raw honey was low averaging US$40per household per month couple by limited access to viable market. The project managed to establish viable market for processed honey; supplying a Malaysian Company with organic honey realising over USD5000 in 2016.
Forests / Mountains / Wetlands / Rivers
Type of Action
Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing / Awareness and education
Sustainable Development Element
Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Water security / Health / Climate action
Honde Valley and Nyangani Mountains form a major part of the globally important Eastern Zimbabwe Mountains Endemic Bird Area (EBA) which has several near endemic species. There has been increased threats to Afromontane forest patches and important bird areas along Pungwe river. The project is working with Parks and Wildlife Department Zimbabwe for the setting up of bee hives in the conserved areas protecting 49 tree species and 30 bird species covering over 3000 hectares. Maintaining sacred mountain areas and burial sites has helped in maintaining woodlots which in turn are providing suitable habitat for both small animals and birds. “The introduction of fish farming and conservation of forests attracted some of the rare bird species such as Haliaeetus vocifer and Scopus umbretta, Vanellus coronatus, Bucorvus leadbeateri and Terathopius ecaudatus”. said Luke Chingoza of Sagambe Village. 65 wood saving stoves were constructed to reduce deforestation and over 20 gullies were reclaimed.
Sustainable Development Impacts
The project addressed SGD Goal #1 thus reducing poverty in all its forms through honey production, processing and selling of which over USD7000.00 has been raised by 2 community groups. Additional income was also realised through selling of crops ~ sweet potatoes, bananas and crafts. The project also addressed food and nutrition security of the communities through promotion of fish farming, organic farming thus addressing Goal #2; End hunger achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. 15 women participated in the skill exchange visit to India and China impacting on Goal #5 which seeks to achieve gender equality and empower women and girls. Goal #15 protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss ~49 tree species and 30 bird species covering over 3000 hectares were protected
This model of conserving the environment for sustainable livelihoods can be scaled up in communities that area located in unique terrains and ecological landscapes particularly the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe. At the local level, the project intends to expanded through the setting up a honey processing, weaving and natural fruits juice production centre under the name Honde Valley Biodiversity Conservation Enterprise. The specific business approaches include clustering producers, creating one brand of a family of products, centralised processing and capacity development in value addition and organising conservation roles and responsibilities at village level. The approach is also aimed increasing organic honey production, certification, creation of market linkages locally, nationally and internationally for honey products, natural fruit juices, tubers and crafts. The project envisages engaging the private sector investment for processing and value addition.
The project is suitable for replication in other communities at national level or even in other countries that are facing similar environmental challenges. Emergence of new groups in other wards is a clear evidence of project replication. Craft weaving is a valley wide activity and already, the new types of crafts that were designed by the project were being made in the neighboring wards. The Pungwe river sustains even bigger communities and unique tree species downstream. For the project to have an impact on the whole catchment, this project needs to be replicated not only in Zimbabwe but also in Mozambique since Pungwe catchment covers these 2 countries. The project also has a potential for replicability in communities that are producing and selling raw honey and crafts. Other areas such as Chimanimani and Chirinda forests in the Eastern Highlands that are endowed with similar natural traditional crops and natural resources were identified for replication.
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