THE Ministry of Tourism and Natural Resources intends to distribute 5,000 modern beehives to beekeepers to replace traditional ones, as one of the strategies for boosting honey production in the country.
The Director of Beekeeping and Forestry Department, Dr Ezekiel Mwakalukwa, noted during a recent beekeeping stakeholders symposium here that modern beehives would facilitate production of quality honey.
“Modern beehives will also help to uplift the level of quality honey production in the country and penetrate the international market,” he said.
The symposium, which brought together a number of beekeeping stakeholders , was hosted by the ministry to discuss challenges facing the beekeeping sector.
According to Dr Mwakalukwa, the country has a very high beekeeping potential on account of having many forests.
“Tanzania is endowed with 48.1 million hectares of forest reserves, which is equivalent to 54.4 per cent of the country’s land,” observed the senior officer in the ministry.
He noted that the ministry had set up eleven bee reserves in various parts of the country and that local government authorities had set 14 reserves in villages.
“We came up with the idea of setting up bee reserves after the increase of deforestation in the areas due to human activities,” he said.
Dr Mwakalukwa explained that bee reserves serve as a means of protecting forests because beekeepers keep an eye on the natural resources.
He said the government was finalising modalities for developing a strategy that will lead to the implementation of the National Forest Policy after completion of the national policy review.
“The updated national policy would help the government to reflect and cope with new development initiatives,” he said, adding: “We decided to review our forest policy due to current changes.”
Dr Mwakalukwa said the new national policy would also provide the country with a framework for supporting honey processing plants, adding that it would promote establishment of a good number of honey processing plants in the country.
He further explained that the government was developing a beekeeping guideline to enable beekeepers to improve honey production and that it was vital for facilitating the production of quality honey.
In the middle of last year, the government received the final draft of the National Forest Policy from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations.
FAO gave the government technical support worth 280m/- to facilitate the review of the National Forest Policy dating back to 1998.