A team of leading businesswomen from the UK food and drink industry have travelled to Tanzania today (16 October) to work alongside farmers in the Nou Forest region.
The 14-strong group, led by Sainsbury’s director of brand Judith Batchelar, will spend three days building 120 beehives in the remote area to help local women create sustainable honey farming businesses. Between them they also hope to raise £80,000 for Farm Africa, the charity behind the project.
It’s the second time some in the group have taken on the challenge, with a group heading out in 2015 and successfully constructing 90 beehives for the community. This time around they hope to beat that total with 30 extra hives. “Monday 16 October is World Food Day, so it’s a fitting day for us, as representatives of the British food industry, to travel to Tanzania to support the development of sustainable food businesses in one of the world’s poorest countries,” said Batchelar. “I’m especially pleased that we’re helping local women thrive in business. 120 beehives in three days? No problem, I can taste the sweet taste of success already.”
The 300 sq km Nou Forest, which is noted for its biodiversity of plant, animal and insect life, has suffered severe deforestation in recent years. Harvesting honey brings local women a new and valuable source of income, which enables them to pay for food, medicines and school fees for their children.
“Tanzania loses around 370,000 hectares of forest a year - that’s 1,000 football fields every day,” said Farm Africa head of fundraising Jenni Bright. “By helping local communities make money from forest-friendly businesses like honey production, Farm Africa not only helps local communities escape poverty, we help protect the forests for generations to come.”
Forty-five-year-old Regina Alfred from Bermi village, who will receive some of the beehives built by the group, added. “I didn’t used to have much capability to help my children but I have tried my best to help them get somewhere in life. The money from this year’s honey harvest will pay for my daughter to go to school. I have nothing more to say to the Big Beehive Build team than to say a big thank you.”
The Big Beehive Build is one of the events organised this year as part of the Food For Good campaign, which unites the global food and hospitality industry behind Farm Africa’s vision of a prosperous rural Africa.
From now until 14 January 2018, donations in support of the Big Beehive Build will go to Farm Africa’s Growing Futures appeal, which will help young farmers living in western Kenya develop sustainable horticulture businesses. Gifts from individuals based in the UK will be doubled by the government through UK Aid Match, meaning gifts will go twice as far.
To help the team reach their fundraising target head to to JustGiving.com/BBB17.