This honey gets its name from Koinadugu District, which is in the region of Kabala, close to the Guinea Conakry border in the northern part of Sierra Leone. The honey is the result of the region’s rich biodiversity and flowering forests plants. In fact, a vast area of equatorial forest has been protected in the region, which also once covered the low-lying coastal area. Honey obtained from these flowering plants is therefore very different to those made in other parts of the country, and honey from Koinadugu District is known for its intensity and rich aromas. Being a forest honey, it is dark in color (similar to chestnut honey) and dense, with an intense bitter note and caramel and spicy aromas. Other characteristic flavors include curry, licorice and carob. The community of Musaia forest honey producers is made up primarily of rice farmers, but beekeeping provides an important source of supplementary income. From May to August, the farmers prepare the fields for the cultivation of rice or vegetables and honey offers a good source of income during the off-season. The main harvest takes place between February and April. To collect the honey from the traditional hives, usually hung from trees, the beekeepers climb the trees to lower the hives to the ground. Using smoke to subdue the bees, the honeycomb can then be extracted. After the harvest the honey is filtered and may be packaged and labeled in plastic jars or left in larger containers. It can be found for sale locally in markets and in a few supermarkets in the capital city of Freetown. Deforestation (due to the conversion of forested areas to land for agriculture or pastoralism and for the timber industry) is the main threat to the savannah woodland forest ecosystem in Koinadugu District. Helping the local communities to improve traditional beekeeping by creating a production chain with greater added value and diversifying the production of honey and beeswax will strengthen the network of producers interested in protecting forest resources at risk of extinction.
The traditional products, local breeds, and know-how collected by the Ark of Taste belong to the communities that have preserved them over time. They have been shared and described here thanks to the efforts of the network that that Slow Food has developed around the world, with the objective of preserving them and raising awareness. The text from these descriptions may be used, without modifications and citing the source, for non-commercial purposes in line with the Slow Food philosophy.