[one_third][/one_third]It has often been said that conservation cannot be done in empty stomachs, and equally for conservation to be successful, the people who live adjacent to the forest must be taken into serious consideration. It is against this background that the Environment and Rural Development Foundation (ERuDeF) has donated 60 modern bee hives and 30 pigs to farmers living in Folepi one of the villages adjacent to the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. Some 100 bee hives were donated last year to this village. The organization is giving 60 additional bee hives and 30 pigs in a bid to continuously distract the villagers from invading the forest hence guaranteeing the safety for the over 40 critically endangered Cross River Gorilla and other endangered species living in this forest. This decision is within the framework of sustainable management of the proposed Tofala Hill Wildlife Sanctuary. It comes after series of capacity building workshops last year. It is hoped that with this support, the income and wellbeing of the farmers would be improved upon and their attention shifted from the forest. This initiative will also help to move the bee farming into a semi industrial level and help boost honey production to over 500 liters, mainly for local consumption. Bee farming has proven to be a very lucrative business in the Tofala area with large swam and variety of bees regularly roaming the buffer zone of Tofala forest.
The modern bee hives fabricated by, a prominent Researcher and bee farmer Folefac Dominic in Lebialem is a model for the rest of the potential farmers. It is made using local materials, shaped into semi cone structure and sealed with spines to ease colonization. The farmers have also been trained on the fabrication of these modern hives.
It is hoped that these modern bee hives would raise the level of economic activity, income level, reduce poverty in the long term, a key Millennium Development Goal.
By Forbe Hodu