Smallholder bee farmers in Kasungu District have said Katope Honey Processing Factory is improving their livelihoods following increase in honey production.
The factory was opened last December to give farmers surrounding Kasungu National Park an improved honey-processing facility.
In an interview, Katope Bee-keeping Cooperative member Elizabeth Nyirenda said people now value bee-keeping as a business.
She said: “We are pleased to have the factory because it has improved our lives economically.
“Second, the availability of the factory has prevented people from poaching wild animals from the national park.”
Nyirenda also said the development has reversed deforestation in the national park.
The farmers are indebted to Catholic Development Commission in Malawi (Cadecom) who trained them in bee-processing.
Kasungu District Cadecom project coordinator Charles Matewere said the cooperative has the capacity to boost the country’s economy through honey sales.
“The cooperative is officially registered. So, the future is bright as its scope has been widened beyond honey processing. This enables the cooperative to produce other profitable value chains such as soya beans and sun floor,” he said.
Chiefs surrounding Kasungu National Park commended government and the Japanese Embassy for the project.
The project was funded by the Japanese Embassy through the embassy’s Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects financing facility to the tune of about $64 243 (about K47 million) for the construction of the factory provision of honey production and processing equipment and audit services.
The factory caters for the communities of traditional authorities Lukwa, Mawawa, Kaphaizi, Mangwazu and Chulu in the district.