TANZANIA: THE Beekeeping Value Chain Support (BEVAC) project is establishing demonstration apiaries to serve as centres for rolling out of knowledge to stakeholders and experts involved in the country’s beekeeping sector.
The timely development set to take shape this month incorporates constructions of the vital beekeeping facilities within at least 15 districts of Tanzania Mainland as well as the four districts in Pemba Island
An apiary, also known as a bee yard, is a location where beehives of honey bees are kept, and usually, such areas are wall-less, roofed structures, similar to a hut, which houses hives, or an enclosed structure with an opening that directs the flight path of the bees.
The project’s Expert in Result Monitoring, Deogratius Kimena said that the initiative which seeks to further improve the performance of the sector is being implemented by Enabel, the Belgian Development Agency through funds from the European Union (EU).
“Among others, the envisaged bee yards are expected to play a meaningful role to help impart the districts beekeeping officers (DBOs), as well as the beekeepers in the beneficiary districts with the best-recommended beekeeping practices,” he detailed.
Mr Kimena named the 15 mainland districts in which the project is going to be implemented as Kakonko, Kibondo, Kasulu, Uvinza, Tanganyika, Nsimbo, Mlele, Sikonge, Uyui, Urambo, Kaliua, Kahama-Ushetu, Manyoni-Itigi, Ikungi and Singida.
He further said that, apart from the project, BEVAC will this year run several campaigns to disseminate vital training to the majority of beekeepers to ensure high-quality honey is produced that meet the set international market standards.
“For example, in Pemba Island establishment of new beekeeping reserves is being prioritized in January with the initial stages including holding community meetings and meeting with leaders of hosting Shehias,” he added.
Together with that, Kimena expounded that plans are also afoot to organise an array of remote coaching of beekeeping SMEs on branding and packaging that continues to support them to access and meet international markets of bee products.
In more concerted efforts to spur the sector, the project is working in sync with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism for Tanzania Mainland and Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation, Natural Resources and Livestock in Zanzibar, to establish new bee reserve areas in different regions with apiculture potential across the country.
The target, according to Kimena, is to ensure that at least a total of 53,527 hectares of forest land is conserved and officially recognised as a beekeeping reserve area.
Tanzania stands 14th country for beekeeping in the world and second in Africa with most of the country’s produced honey and beeswax often exported to Germany, France, Belgium and Netherlands, Oman, USA, Japan, Botswana, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Somali and Kenya.
Moreover, relevant records depict that the country is currently producing over 138,000 tonnes of honey and 9,200 tonnes of beeswax per year.
Tanzania holds at least 48.1 million hectares of forests, equivalent to 54 per cent of the county’s area, whereby the government-reserved forests area is 465 hectares, including 24 tree plantations, 23 natural environmental conservation areas, and 20 beekeeping reserves.