The multi-year (2023-2034) co-management project, led by WeForest aims to bring 9000 ha of miombo woodland within the Mt Mulanje Forest Reserve under co-management between communities and the Forest Department. Approximately 12 Forest Block Committees (FBCs) will be revamped/established to take the lead in the sustainable forest management activities of the woodlands. To sustain the long-term finance needed to carry out those activities, forest businesses will be supported to generate a continuous cash flow.
Beekeeping has been identified as a potential business and a trial pilot project of 600 Kenyan top-bar hives in the Forest Reserve has been kicked off in 2020. The current negotiated modality lists that Forest Block Committees sub-contract independent beekeeping groups who are tasked to manage the apiary, receiving a 25% profit share. The 75% remaining profit share is to be used by the FBC to manage the forest. Before scaling up (potentially to up to 4000 hives), WeForest requires an in-depth assessment of the beekeeping sector market system to design a strong intervention, embedding sustainability in the process (avoiding dependency on WeForest). The assessment will focus on all market players, supporting functions of the beekeeping sector and rules governing the system (the market system ‘doughnut’), with particular attention to the following functions: production, processing and sales of honey and equipment supply (mainly focused on quality beehives as initial information indicates a big quality issue).