Digitise issuance of honey export permits, govt challenged

TANZANIA: THE government has been advised to digitalise and improve processes in issuance of certificates and other crucial documents needed for exporting honey, as well as other relevant products to different countries overseas.

Equally, stakeholders in the bee subsector have underscored the need for the government to think on how to empower local producers and processors of honey and its relative products to meet the recommended standards in the world market.

During an interview with the ‘Daily News,’ the Managing Director of the Tanzania International Bee Co Ltd, Musiba Paul Kitema, noted that the country was producing the best honey in the globe, but there were however a number of setbacks that prohibits the country’s honey to effectively surpass the world market.

For instance, he said, there was no special laboratory to conduct microplastic parameter test of honey, the vital test which is needed in order to stand a professional chance to export honey outside the country.

In order to export honey, the international standards require all products to be tested in terms of contamination of plastic materials (particles), whereby in case of such contaminations, the exported honey is being rejected, destroyed or returned home, depending on the wisdom of the receiver, he added.

He further noted that with the absence of such a crucial facility in the country, most of the honey dealers and processors are being ‘arm-twisted’ to export their products, based on the facts that the Tanzania’s honey processors are packaging their products in plastic containers, contrary to those in other countries who are packaging their products in smart glass containers.

Moreover, Mr Kitema, the managing director of the country’s leading exporters of bee honey said it would be prudent for the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to collaborate with its relevant authorities to help the exporters to meet the set international standards, including sugar content in the honey.

“As per the set international standards, in the European market, honey requires sugar content of around 50 per cent and below, but most locally produced honey is around 60 per cent,” he informed.

Together with that, he said the other challenge was accessibility of the certificates and other necessary documents needed in exportation of honey and its products abroad.

“In order to export honey, you must possess a number of basic and mandatory certificates, including Veterinary certificate, Phytosanitary certificate, Radioactive analysis certificate, EU Health certificate, Sanitary certificate, Rex number for EU registered exporters, Export permit, HACCP certificate and Certificate of origin,” he noted.

Also, Mr Kitema added that the said certificates and permits were being issued by different ministries and authorities, and in an analogue system, the unfriendly move poses a lot of complications in the business.

“The government should think of how to set up a one stop facility through which all of the needed certificates and documents will be available under the same roof, this will fast-track the processes for the issuance of the vital honey exportation papers, and thus allowing the country to fetch lucrative foreign gains from the sector,” he urged.

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