Gebeyehu is keen to engage in our project in Amhara to embrace more profitable and sustainable ways to make a living. He has 11 children and of them only four are financially independent, so it is up to him and his one hectare of land to support them.
He keeps livestock and grows crops on this farmland, but its primarily for home consumption. Its beekeeping and honey production, that he started engaging in with help from our project partner, that he really relies on for his income. Today he has an impressive 60 beehives.
That’s where our project is really making a difference to people’s lives.
To improve honey production Gebeyehu has created his own “micro-forest” on his land. The value of this from a forest conservation perspective is two-fold. It actively creates tree cover and makes this beekeeping extremely profitable, providing income without having to cut down trees.
Gebeyehu has lived in the area for more than 50 years and has noticed a sharp decline in forest cover over the last 20 years.
“People just go in the forest and cut trees and there’s almost no trees on our grazing land anymore. People do not always realize the value of the forest”, he says.
But all is not lost. Gebeyehu hopes that with increased awareness of the value of the forest, things can begin to change.
He is also very keen to start planting fruit trees like mango, avocado and moringa, to add some new flavors to his diet and those of his children.