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Farmers Take To Apiary To Protect Gardens From Wildlife

Communities bordering Queen Elizabeth National Park are turning to apiary projects to safeguard their gardens from wildlife invasions.

Mobilised under Kataara Women’s Poverty Alleviation Group-KWPAG in Kicwamba Sub County of Rubirizi district, the farmers now have over 200 beehives spread along the boundary of the park and their agricultural fields.

A number of farmers had initially abandoned their land because of constant wildlife raids on their gardens and opted to hire land elsewhere far from the village.

Mary Goretti Natukunda, a member of KWPAG told URN that they started the project after undergoing training supported by World Wide Fund for nature-WWF on how they can sustainably grow crops adjacent to the national park. She says formerly wild invasion was so rampant that some farmers would lose all their crops in a season.



Natukunda adds that while the initiative was meant to protect their gardens, it has also turned into a business opportunity as the group is able to collect more than 500 litres of honey every three months.

Grace Beshemeza, a resident of Kataara village says it was becoming almost impossible to grow food on their land because of continuous elephant raids. Beshemeza who later joined KWPAG says she has been able to boost her household income by selling surplus food and honey.

Immaculate Tumwebaze, the KWPAG chairperson says since they adopted beekeeping, they have been able to witness full harvests from their gardens for the first time in many years. She adds that the group is now seeking more hives so that they can expand on the honey business as they also protect their gardens.

Moses Abigamba, a farmer in the same village says most of the fertile land in the area is bordering the park and is prone to wildlife invasion. He says the beehives that have been put up by the community have been of great benefit in scaring away animals such as elephants. The group is also producing paper bags, bracelets and books using elephant dung.

-URN



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