Tag Archives: Livelihood

CBEMR A Successful Method of
Mangrove Restoration

Nai Nang’s honey will “BEE” in the best hotels of Thailand!

By Isabel Robinson, MAP Volunteer Intern

Four years ago the community of Nai Nang in Krabi province, Thailand, started producing honey partly made from the mangroves flowers surrounding the village, but the most challenging part was how to market it. Most of the income and jobs around Nai Nang village are based on palm oil, rubber and fishing. The people asked themselves, “How can we make an income besides farming and fishing?” That’s when the idea of honey bees came along as serveral community members had already set-out bee boxeimg_2603s which had been colonized by the wild bee, Apis cerana. This is not only good for theenvironment, but also a great source of income and excellent for
mangrove pollination.

Mangroves are vital to this project, and MAP has provided technical support helping out with mangrove planting, drainage of the area allowing natural mangrove reproduction.  But most importantly, teaching and educating the community so they can take care of the mangrove and continue with the restoration and conservation of this ecosystem. The mangrove is as vital to community as the community to the mangrove.

img_2677Part of MAP’s help has been providing packaging and marketing support, and thingsare looking good for Nai Nang! The effort of the people and MAP is showing good results, as a couple of weeks ago Nai Nang received a visit from Mr. Sean Panton, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility at Marriott Hotels Thailand. He is responsible for the development of internal and external community and environmental programs and initiatives. Sean brought two chefs from Marriott Hotels in Phuket to taste test the honey. They liked it very much for the original salty-sweet taste of it, and their business interest with the community looks promising as they hope to make an agreement to purchase all natural raw Nai Nang honey to supply their hotels here in Thailand, the honey will be in the welcome drinks in Marriott Phuket and during the breakfast buffet in all the other Marriott branches.

img_26712This is great news for MAP and the Nai Nang community! A friendly relationship between the hotel business and conservation is possible, and what better example than this!

MAP-Asia helps to spread gold

Proud Apis cerana

By MAP Intern: Maria Savage & Photography: Jon Baines

The MAP Asia staff packed their bags on July 11th, 2016 and took a visit to Nai Nang Village, Krabi province, Thailand with high hopes for a promising partnership. In 2015 the Marriott Hotel in Thailand teamed up with MAP to undertake a mangrove restoration site assessment in Phang Nga province to ensure successful mangrove planting by Phuket Marriott staff as part of their mangrove Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program through IUCN Thailand. IUCN had invited MAP to visit the Hin Laad mangrove restoration site to ensure the site was effective in regeneration. Since then, the Marriott has raised interest in MAP’s work with the Nai Nang Apiculture group selling honey as an alternative livelihood while protecting and restoring mangroves in their village.

Left to right: Intern, Photographer, Coordinator, Project Manager

Left to right: Intern, Photographer, Coordinator, Project Manager

The meeting was held in close proximity to the bee boxes that the Nai Nang Villagers have built with the support of wood working tools provided by the Mangrove Action Project. The project was funded under Global Nature Fund of Germany and was called “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Protect Climate change, Forest and Biodiversity” as an effort to expand on the few families experimenting with bee keeping in the community. MAP saw the expansion as a gateway to alternative livelihoods for the Nai Nang Village community members. Here is the catch, when villages agree to produce honey, they are no longer allowed to use pesticides on their crops. This is a win-win for all members. The bees can flourish without toxins and chemicals present while the villagers expel the added cost of poisonous products. Some members note a decrease in the number of pests found on their crops and they credit the busy bees!

Apiculture workshops and value-add honey product training seminars were held for the people to produce hand soap, shampoo and conditioner to build capacity and market village produced products. The hives were incredibly successful, and the community sold 276 bottles of honey in 2015! A village Conservation Fund was established with 10% of all honey and honey product sales.

This golden honey is produced as part of the mangrove conservation efforts, it was sure to spark the interest of responsible fair-trade businesses. That’s where Mr. Sean Panton, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Representative for the Marriott Hotel chain Thailand and Ms. Kanokwan Homchaaim (Nok), Marriot Thailand’s Field Coordinator for IUCN come into the picture.

The meeting was planned to establish a partnership between the Nai Nang Village Apiculture Group and the Marriott Hotel CSR program. Sean and Nok recognized the many benefits of conservation group’s honey, and they are sure the customers of the Marriott would agree. The idea is to showcase the honey on the hotel’s breakfast buffets with background information about where it is produced and with details about the Nai Nang Apiculture Group. This marketing strategy will appeal to conscience of people who are looking to support local communities and local conservation efforts.

Exposing the hive

Exposing the hive

We were lucky enough to visit the beehives and see first-hand the honeycomb extraction. The workers looked more like soldiers; dressed head to toe in a camouflage suit and toped with a veil hat. They were well prepared for the vast number of protective bees working on the hive. We were even given a taste of the fresh honey combs direct from the hive. I admit, I have an inexhaustible sweet tooth and am no stranger to toast and honey, but this honey was a real treat. I haven’t tasted anything quite like it! It was fruity and flowerily all at once. Needless to say, I showed my support and bought a bottle.

Sampling the honey

Sean (in black) and Nok (in white) sampling the honey

Key Points:
I am fortunate to have witnessed a partnership that secures the future for this hard working community. Nai Nang Honey should be shared with more people, and they have already begun to do so. In March 2016 the experienced members of Ban Nai Nang offered guidance in an apiculture workshop for Ban Ta-Sanook in Phang Nga province. This opens doors of opportunity for many families and continued mangrove conservation. Marriott Hotel has made a conscientious decision in supporting conservation related supplementary livelihoods while sharing the benefits of this golden treat.

Click for MAP’s Apiculture Information Sheet

MAP donor keen to learn from local communities

Informal exchange of information with Bang Non Mee Lam, local conservation leader of Klang Island, Krabi.

A visitor from one of MAP’s funders, Synchronicity Earth, based in London UK, came to Thailand to see and learn first-hand about mangrove restoration!

From March 29th to 31st MAP Asia had the great pleasure to receive Jim Pettiward, communications strategist, at Synchronicity Earth a funder and collaborator of MAP since 2014. This is the first time MAP Asia has received a visitor from Synchronicity Earth.  “It’s much more interesting and valuable to see and experience projects on the ground rather than just read reports, if you want to really understand the issues” stated Jim.

MAP Asia staff had the occasion to show Jim Pettiward around six mangrove restoration sites utilizing the Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) method within the provinces of Krabi and Phang Nga, Southern Thailand. The local community representatives at different sites were available allowing us to exchange information and ask questions directly to the villagers concerned with the mangrove restoration projects.

On the first evening after welcoming Jim to Krabi Town with a taste of the delicious Thai food, a powerpoint summary presentation was given on the 4 year “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Reduce Climate Change, and Protect Forest Biodiversity” project. This regional project was administered by the Global Nature Fund (GNF) of Germany and MAP’s projects were co-funded by Synchronicity Earth.
On the second day, we visited four of MAP’s mangrove restoration sites in Krabi Province: one site at Ban Lang Da started in 2009 and three other sites on Klang Island.

The Klong Lu homestay, a GNF project partner, was used as our base on the island and a longtail boat driven by the owner, Bang Bao and his 10 year-old son transported us from the mainland and toured us through the mangroves on route to the family bungalow operation. While motoring along the Krabi River we were welcomed by a playful pod of Indo Pacific hump-backed dolphins which did a great job of putting on a show for Jim’s birthday! The Klong Lu homestay is involved in eco-tourism and with MAP’s support, has developed a short interpretative mangrove nature trail around the mangrove restoration site which was initiated just 6 month ago. The small loop walkway will be a great tool to educate visitors of the Klong Lu Homestay, daytrip visitors to the island, along with school kids from the local area.

Jim Pettiward (green shirt) and MAP staff on the longtail boat to Klang Island

Jim Pettiward (green shirt) and MAP staff on the longtail boat to Klang Island

The final day, was highlighted by a visit to the Nai Nang’s apiculture group, in Krabi Province. This community has been successfully producing honey partly from mangrove flowers and are, now, also creating value added products such as honey hand soap, shampoo and conditioner with the support of MAP. During our time there, community conservation leaders showed us how they harvest the honey from the hand-made bee boxes. We even got a taste of the freshly collected honey, YUMMY!

Freshly harvested honey tasting at Nai Nang village

Freshly harvested honey tasting at Nai Nang village

After wild honey tasting we headed north to the restoration site in Ta-Sanook village, Phang Nga province where the village chief and some members of the conservation group showed us the ongoing construction of their new mangrove nature trail which plans to be completed by May 2016. It will allow local school kids to learn about mangrove ecosystems first-hand without getting their feet wet.

Visiting Ta-Sanook CBEMR restoration site with the village chief and community leaders

Visiting Ta-Sanook CBEMR restoration site with the village chief and community leaders

The field trip was a great way to showcase some of MAP’s mangrove restoration project with full involvement of local communities who are pursuing supplementary livelihoods supported by the project. It also allowed us all to exchange ideas and get valuable advice and impressions from Jim Pettiward of Synchronicity Earth and key community leaders.

By Manon Whittaker, MAP Asia Intern.

WHEN THE STUDENTS BECOME THE TEACHERS: Sweet golden honey helps communities and mangroves!

MAP meeting with Ta-Sanook villagers to kick off the DAIMLER project

The successful honey project which started in Nai Nang, in Krabi province in Thailand has now expanded to Ta-Sanook, Phang-Nga province.

Read this inspiring story about mangrove restoration, livelihoods and knowledge transfer between communities!

How it started

The project started several years ago in Nai Nang when MAP implemented a mangrove restoration site with the support of the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) funding and through Global Nature Fund’s administered project entitled “Mangrove Restoration and Reforestation in Asia, a Project for Knowledge Exchange and Action to Protect Climate change, Forest and Biodiversity”. In order to secure the long-term protection of the restoration efforts MAP decided to help the  community develop their apiculture activity as an alternative livelihood.  The wonderful part is that honey is partly produced from mangrove flowers . Nai Nang villagers had already been involved in apiculture for some time but MAP helped provide material, technical training, develop labels, marketing and equipment support to take this project to the next level. Today, the village has more than 200 beehives and produced 270 kilos of honey last year.

Honey partly produced from mangrove flowers by Nai-Nang village

Honey partly produced from mangrove flowers by Nai-Nang village

Passing on the torch

At the beginning of this year, another MAP restoration site, funded by DAIMLER AG’s, the “Mangrove Conservation in Asia” project also managed by GNF in Ta-Sanook village in Phang-Nga showed keen interest to develop apiculture as an alternative livelihood. Ta-Sanook village is a relatively close to Nai-Nang village, hence it became evident that something exciting could begin here. The knowledge gathered by locals from Nai-Nang village from several years of producing honey products could be shared directly to Ta-Sanook villagers. And this is what is currently taking place.

Early March 2016, 16 villagers from Ta-Sanook undertook a day long training under the supervision of the experienced leaders from Nai-Nang village. They demonstrated bee-keeping technics, shared beehive construction methods and gave important recommendations for producing honey. In addition, a second training session has been planned for the women of Nai Nang to teach their sisters at Ta Sanook the craft of making value added products such as shampoo, conditioner and hand soap.

This form of knowledge transfer is extremely thrilling and promising for community empowerment in the future.

Knowledge transfer between Nai-Nang and Ta-Sanook villagers

Knowledge transfer between Nai-Nang and Ta-Sanook villagers

What’s next?

The story doesn’t end here. Ta-Sanook is only at the beginning of the journey. The next step is building the wooden bee-boxes so that wild bees (Apis Cerena) can colonize. The wood working tools, will be provided by MAP throughout the project, however, the community has been encouraged to use recycled wood for the construction of the hives because the bees only require a dry clean home, nothing fancy.  The aim is that the twinned communities are able to support each other in their apiculture  enterprise.

As part of the project, the village is also constructing a 70 m Mangrove Interpretative Nature Trail which  will be a great asset for the Environmental Education program which will take place in the local school.

So these projects are allowing the transfer of local knowledge between communities but also to future generations, not bad yeah?!

Download the MAP Mangrove Apiculture Information Sheet.

Make sure you follow each stage of the project on the MAP Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MangroveAction/?fref=ts

By Manon Whittaker, MAP Asia Intern