Tanga Regional Commissioner Chiku Galawa has called directed Korogwe District Commissioner Mrisho Gambo to ensure that the inaugurated honey processing factory at Bungu Division increases production using new technology.
Speaking after the launch of the factory on Monday the RC said increased honey production would in turn improve the livelihood of the people in the area.
“I have directed the DC to always monitor the performance of your factory to see how it can assist people here improve their livelihood,” she said.
After inaugurating the factory, however, the RC presented certificates to 210 beekeepers who had completed training provided by the district’s beekeeping department.
For his part, Korogwe DC pointed out that honey processing project aims to give jobs to villagers living around forest reserves in the district so as to ensure that they do not destroy the environment by cutting down trees.
The DC further said through the project, the villagers would preserve the reserves while at the same time accumulate money through beekeeping as their source of income.
Gambo added that beekeeping is one of the socio-economic activities that are friendly to the environment and forests in particular, adding that the residents stand to benefit a lot of people from the project.
“We all know that beekeeping is very important in our society in that many people use honey as food, medicine and for sale,” he said.
He also disclosed that beekeeping offers a great potential for development and is comparatively less demanding in terms of investment, labour and time.”
Simon Lugazo, the project manager from TFCG told the RC at the launch that the honey processing factory has the capacity of producing 15,000 litres of honey and will rake in 150m/- annually to the beekeepers.
Lugazo also said that the beekeepers have been trained to use mud hive for honey production, the technology which that was acquired from Zambia.
“We got training from Zambia on how to build mud hives which a new technology that ensures higher production as well as protects the environment,” he said.
Tanzania Forest Conservation Group (TFCG) assistant field officer for West Usambara Mountains Revocatus Njau said TFCG has administered the whole process of establishing the honey factory by assisting Bungu residents to protect forests.
Njau added that 20 percent of the money used to establish the factory came from the community while 80 percent was donated through TFCG.
He said there is a need for the government and stakeholders to improve rural roads and communication infrastructures in the district to facilitate the transporting of bee products to the market.
Beekeeping in Tanzania plays a major role in the socio-economic development of the country and environmental conservation. It is a source of food and raw materials for various industries and a source of income for beekeepers.
It is estimated that the sector generates about USD1.7m every year from sales of honey and beeswax and employs about 2 million rural people for communities leaving close to forests and woodlands.
Beekeeping in Tanzania is carried out using traditional methods that account for 99 percent of the total production of honey and beeswax. Approximately 95 percent of all hives are traditional including log and bark hives. Others are reeds, gourds and pots.
Tanzania has about 33.5 million ha of scattered forests and woodlands that are ideal for developing beekeeping industry.