Spalding businesswoman Ann Savage has arrived home after her third charity mission to eastern Africa.
Ann, non-executive director at Marel, joined 13 other businesswomen from the UK food industry in the remote Nou Forest in Tanzania to build beehives and improve the lives of women farmers.
The Big Beehive Build was organised by Farm Africa, the charity working to create rural prosperity in eastern Africa.
Ann has already helped dig a fish pond for a community in Kisumu, Kenya, in 2013 and took part in a Big Beehive Build in Tanzania in 2015.
After arriving at Kilimanjaro airport, Ann and her companions travelled south for several hours to reach the small village of Bermi in the Babati district of the Manyara region.
There they worked alongside local women to construct 120 Langstroth beehives in just three days, as well as raise £80,000 for Farm Africa.
The hives will be used by women from the local Bermi beekeeping group to build sustainable honey farming businesses that give them a steady income, as well as an incentive to protect the forest by planting fruit trees to attract more bees. The 300 sq km Nou Forest where they live, 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.
Ann said: “By supporting farmers in Africa to build their own businesses we can change the future for them and their families.
“This is the third project I have participated in and the continuing success of previous projects shows how keen the farmers are to take on the initiatives and build and develop them into sustainable businesses.
“The pride and ambition of the people we have worked with has been incredible.
“I was delighted to be part of this opportunity to work with Farm Africa to make a difference.
“A big thank you to all the individuals and businesses who supported us.”
Bermi villager Regina Alfred (45) said: “I didn’t use 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.
• Farm Africa is an innovative charity that reduces poverty by unleashing African farmers’ abilities to grow their incomes in an environmentally sustainable way.
They help farmers to not only boost yields, but also gain access to markets, while protecting the environment for generations to come.
For more information about Farm Africa please visit www.farmafrica.org or follow it on @FarmAfrica