Better living conditions for Togolese smallholders, honey from healthy bees and shea butter from sustainably used forest pastures
Duration of the project
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Else v. Sick Foundation
Margarethe and Rudolf Gsell Foundation
Communes Genthod, Menier and Riehen
Lottery funds of the Cantons of Appenzell-Ausserrhoden, Berne, Aargau, Grisons and Glarus
Cities of Lancy and Onex
Gestion de l’Environnement et Valorisation des Produits Agropastoraux et Forestiers (GEVAPAF)
Centre d’Action pour la Sécurité Alimentaire, le Développement Durable et la Valorisation des Ressources (CASADD-VR)
Of Togolese households living in rural areas (about 60 %), more than 65 % are poor. According to FAO, a significant number of people living in poverty depend on forests and trees (forest fruits) for their livelihoods. Entire communities have settled on the edges of 83 forest reserves to exploit the resources they need for their livelihoods through poaching, timber, firewood and charcoal production, wild beekeeping, and the collection of food, fruits and plants. The increasing exploitation of natural resources is accelerating deforestation and soil erosion, as well as the disappearance of certain animal and plant species. This poses a serious threat to biodiversity and the ecosystem of the entire region.
The exploitation of forests will continue until the population has alternative and sustainable sources of income that contribute to food security, wealth creation and employment. Forest fruit production is one such alternative. Honey and shea butter are in high demand in national and international markets. However, local farmers are not yet able to fully exploit the potential of these sectors.
The MiKaGo project has three pillars:
1. capacity development/vocational training
The project starts on the one hand with the training of smallholder farmers in beekeeping, shea processing and tree seedling production, and on the other hand with the training of artisans in the production of tools. Networking between the two groups is encouraged and they are trained in the use of effective techniques. During the training sessions, attendees will gather in a village or on one of the production plots, where they will learn how to colonize a beehive or how to efficiently collect shea nuts or raise seedlings. Nurserymen will focus on producing shea plants for reforestation in deforested areas.
2. market system development
In addition to training, smallholder farmers will receive adequate equipment (beehives) and access to microcredits to improve their production capacity (in quantity and quality). The idea of the project is to provide the smallholders with an additional income to improve their living conditions. This is because neither honey nor shea butter are staple foods; in both cases, they are products that are in demand in the cities by the growing Togolese middle class or industry. To meet this demand, the project relies on modern and efficient, but somewhat more expensive, processes. Instead of burning honeycombs to collect honey (wild beekeeping), the project promotes the use of new types of hives. To make the collection of shea nuts more efficient, the women collectors are equipped with shea collecting sticks. The sticks mean that the women have to bend down less and are less exposed to snake bites.
3. participatory use of forests and trees
Production areas are demarcated and allocated to cooperatives in collaboration with communities and the authorities. The production objectives of the cooperatives are set in relation to the production area granted.
In collaboration with a research institute (ESA/ITRA), the project will conduct a study on the bee health situation in the target areas. In areas where there is a risk of infestation (e.g. Varroa mite) or pesticide poisoning, producers will be made aware of these risks and methods to control bee diseases, and encouraged to switch to agriculture with less pesticide use around the forests.
In addition to monitoring the health of bee colonies and shea trees, biodiversity conservation is monitored. Real-time monitoring of the forests will be established in each beneficiary community. This initiative consists of developing and testing a digital tool that will be made available to communities so that they can alert the authorities in real time when a forest violation is observed.
Global objective (“impact”):
The living conditions of at least 1,500 smallholder households around the “Fazao-Malfakassa” protected area and around the “Abdoulaye Forest” in Togo have improved through locally adapted forms of use (shea forest pastures and pesticide-free forest honey) and the participatory management of the buffer zones around the protected areas has improved sustainably.
20 farmer organizations (associations) are addressing the needs of smallholder farmers and at least 1,500 smallholder farmers and 100 artisans are successfully applying their learned skills.
The competitiveness of forest honey and shea butter from the project area has improved and 1,500 smallholder farmers are better able to sell their products on the market thanks to better quality and larger quantities.
Natural resource management has improved in the forests of the project area and around the selected forest pastures.
Which of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals does this project work towards?