VICE -President Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan has called upon forest and honeybee stakeholders to devise a strategy for promoting the sector’s products, to allow it to significantly contribute to the country’s economy.
The VP said that currently, forest and honeybee contribute 3.5 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 5.9 per cent of export income.
“We should come up with the strategy for promoting these products to expand our market hence increase contribution of this sector to the national income,” the VP said in her speech read by the Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism Dr Damas Ndumbaro.
Dr Ndumbaro represented Ms Samia in an International Scientific Conference on Forrest and Honeybee Products Value Chain for sustainable Livelihoods and Industrial Economy held in Dar es Salaam on Tuesday.
“We have varieties of forest and honeybee products but we lack the strategy of promoting them … there is no doubt that we produce sufficient honey which is also being sold to the international market … we should promote the products to expand our market,” the VP stressed.
She said that in order to realise the plan they should first improve production in terms of quantity and quality, address the gaps in the value chain and identify the market needs.
Ms Samia also stressed the need for increasing the number of factories for processing forest and honeybee products using raw materials available in the country.
“So far the country has 21 factories for processing honeybee products although the government is working to increase five factories in Mlele, Kibondo, Bukombe, Nzega and Sikonge therefore there will be 26 factories …they are not enough we are supposed to have at least 200 factories countrywide,” she said.
On forest processing factories, she said there are 4200 factories in the country noting that they need to improve their efficiency.
She however, noted that the factories have helped a lot to reduce importation of forest products and increase exports.
She noted that in 2015 the country imported 90 cubic metres of wood products but in 2020 the imports dropped to 20 cubic metres…” this has been possible because the country is now emphasizing on using locally manufactured products.”
For his part, Tanzania Forestry Research Institute Acting Director General Dr Revocatus Mushumbusi said that the three day conference has been organised by Forestry and Value Chains Development programme (FORVAC) in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism and Tanzania Forestry Research Institute (TAFORI) .
He said the conference provides a platform for sharing knowledge and promotes discussions on how to develop forest and honeybee products value chains for transforming the nation into a middle-income country.