Local materials for beekeeping

Local materials for beekeeping

For example, the government developed the National Beekeeping Policy (NBP) in 1998. The overall goal of the National Beekeeping Policy is to enhance the contribution of the beekeeping sector to the sustainable development of Tanzania and the conservation and management of its natural resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

The initiative was followed by the National Beekeeping Programme (NBKP) introduced in 2001 being an instrument designed to put into practice the beekeeping programme with emphasis on stakeholders participation in the planning, management, ownership and improved biodiversity development and environmental conservation.

In recognition of the great economic potential in beekeeping, the Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has decided to share practically the necessary information in implementation of the National Beekeeping Programme. Last week this paper published a story on simplicity in beekeeping. It was leanrt that within a limited area, dozens of beehives can be accommodated free from external interference such as irritating ants, direct sunlight and rain water, strong winds, fire and other forms of disturbances.

Today experts in beekeeping would like to share more information aboutmodern ways in beekeeping using locally available materials similar to those used in the construction of the popular “Tembe” houses found in Dodoma and part of Singida. The basic materials here is wooden poles, sticks and soil to provide shade ready for arrangement of dozens of beehives to ensure good income for families.

Interestingly, experts have established that places which might be characterized as being of harsh condition (dry) produce more
honey comparatively because bees work harder to keep more reserve (honey) for people to harvest. Fore example, different researchers on the status of Tanzanian honey Trade- Domestic and International Markets by Mwakatobe, A. and Mlingwa, from Tanzania Wildlife Research Institute in Arusha, revealed that Beekeeping in Tanzania plays a major role in socio-economic development and environmental conservation.

It is a source of food (e.g. honey, pollen and brood), raw materials for various industries (e.g. beeswax candles, lubricants), medicine (honey, propolis, beeswax bee venom) and source of income for beekeepers. It is estimated that the sector generates about US$ 1.7 million each year from sales of honey and beeswax and employ about 2 million rural people. It is an important income generating activity with high potential for improving incomes, especially for communities living close to forests and woodlands.

Beekeeping also plays a major role in improving biodiversity and increasing crop production through pollination. Research findings further revealed that beekeeping in Tanzania is carried out using traditional methods that account for 99 per cent of the total production of honey and beeswax in the country. Approximately 95 per cent of all hives are traditional including log and bark hives. Others are reeds, gourds, pots etc.

During the colonial and early independence period the production of bee products was higher than what we have now and was among the important non-wood products from the forests with a higher contribution to the national GDP and international trade (Kihwele, 1991). However, today the industry has declined in exports to an insignificant level despite of its high potential.

Fore example statistics indicate that Kahama district in Shinyanga region has annual honey production potential of 4,000 tonnes but produces 500 tonnes, Kondoa 3,000 tonnes but producing 300 tonnes, Lindi 8,000 against 50 tonnes, Mpanda 8,000 against 1,500, Kiteto 2,000 against 250, Songea 6,000 tonnes against 50 tonnes, Sikonge 6,000 against 2,000 tonnes, Babati 1,200 tonnes against 150 tonnes, Iringa 5,000 tonnes against 40 tonnes.

Others are, Urambo has the potential of 6,000 tonnes but produces 1,400 tonnes, Kibondo 4,000 tonns against 250, Biharamulo 4,000 tonnes against 15 tonnes, Nzega 4,000 tonnes against 400, Handeni 3,000 tonnes but produces 150 tonnes, Kasulu 4,000 tonns against 5 tonnes, Tabora 5,000 tonnes against 1,200 tonnes, Kigoma 3,000 against 100 tonnes Newala 4,000 tonnes against 15 tonns, Chunya 6,000 tonnes against 400 tonnes, Arumeru 1,500 tonnes against 100 tonnes among others.

So the potential for cited areas is 52,000 but currently producing 7,800 tonnes. According to the Principal Beekeeping Officer in the ministry, Mr Mathew Kiondo, it is estimated that Tanzania has about 9.2 million honeybee colonies where production potential of bee products is about 138,000 tonnes of honey and 9,200 tonnes of beeswax per annum.

High potential for beekeeping is also found in agricultural land where substantial bee products can be harvested from agricultural crops e.g. sunflower, green beans, coffee, coconut and sisal. The presence of both stinging and non-stinging honeybees coupled with existence of indigenous knowledge in beekeeping is also a great potential. Tanzania was an important source of beeswax during the Germany colonial period (Ntenga, 1976). The production of beeswax from Tanzania increased from 320 to 905 tonnes during 1906 to 1952. Honey was estimated at an annual average production of 10,000 tonnes, all consumed locally (Smith, 1958).

Following independence in 1961, a marketing organization of honey and beeswax was formed. According to Ntenga (1976), Tanzanian exports averaged 368 tonnes of beeswax and 467 tonnes of honey. During the 1996/97 period, the annual exports dropped to 359 tonnes of beeswax and 2.46 tonnes of honey (Tanzania Customs Department, 1997).

Beekeeping entrepreneur from TanzaniaExpoOnline, Mr Kaizirege Camara hass seen his life changing through beekeeping. He does not want to withhold the valid information by himself but share experience with any other interested person. “The cry for unemployment is real but there are ample opportunities for people to generate lawful income. Beekeeping is the best option.

The project has assured me of a reliable income and fellow countrymen should come forward to venture in profitable beekeeping,” Camara appealed. Beekeeping activities are encouraged to be carried out in Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) by involving local communities. With special permission from the Director of Wildlife beekeepers are allowed to carry out beekeeping in game reserves and game controlled areas.

During his work tour in Tanga region recently, the minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Ezekiel Maige advised residents of Mbulizaga, Mkalamo and other villages bordering the Sadani National Park to engage in beekeeping to generate income. The Village Land Act 1999 is one of the most important legislative texts that support community based natural resources management (Wily, 2003).

It empowers the community at local level (village) recognizing it as the appropriate representative structure to implement natural resources management. In view of this, through village land use management system beekeepers can be allocated land for beekeeping development. Adjourning the parliamentary session in Dodoma recently, the Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda issued directives to all district councils to set aside funds to facilitate beekeeping community education for poverty reduction.

The market is huge both internally and externally. Tanzania honey fetches high prices on the international market. For example, during 1999/2000 one ton of honey fetched 3,741.13 USD while the price of beeswax was about 1,075 USD. When compared with the prices of other export crops, export prices of bee products have remained relatively high which indicates high demand and lucrative opportunity for Tanzanian bee products.

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