FORESTRY officers from Mbulu District, Manyara Reion in Tanzania have been ordered to ensure that they supply at least 100 beehives every year to Yaeda Chini, a swampy valley along Lake Eyasi surrounded by Hadza people.
The Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Prof Jumanne Maghembe said his directive was aimed at increasing honey production, a produce he said was on the downward trend.
In his tour of duty here, Prof Maghembe pledged to make a close follow-up of implementation, pledging the government’s resolve to maintain a natural resource balance in the area where the Hadza people still depend on honey, wild fruits and meat they get through hunting.
The minister expressed sadness at the poor state of housing he witnessed among the Hadza communities – where some families were using stones to crush fruits so as to make flour and paste for their food.
“I am saddened by the situation I witnessed in the area… at a certain house I found they had not even set fire … meaning there was no meal for the day’s meal.
But I have learnt that there’s a huge water problem for daily use here, too,” said the minister. Mbulu Rural MP Mr Flatei Massay said Yaeda Chini was facing several challenges, among which he mentioned lack of a patrol vehicle tto curb poaching, and an ambulance to serve Munguamono village -- where there’s neither dispensary nor health centre.
MP Massay pointed another challenge as that of tourists who call at the valley and tend to engage in research studies about the Hadza people and their lives, investigations that only benefit the researchers, leaving the Hadza community the poorer for its participation – without pay.
A Special Seats MP for Manyara region, Ms Martha Umbula petitioned Prof. Maghembe and his ministry to restrain the tourists who have been encouraging the Hadza people to carry on with the primitive ways of life – just so that they (tourists) could benefit from taking pictures of these so-called primitive people – for sale, or worse, to solicit donor funds use in hastily organised projects back home.
Responding to Ms Umbula’s request, the minister said the government was already working on it, but stressed it was “the duty of Mbulu district authorities to motivate the Hadza to send their children to school” where, once educated, “other things would be sorted automatically … but gradually.”
“That is the Government’s position … the Hadza to embrace modern life … but we cannot restrain tourists from coming to these places.
It should suffice to say that we should send our children to school without any excuse,” said Prof Maghembe, the first minister to visit Yaeda Chini area in 25 years.