Forest Researcher, Ibrahim Hussein made the call when talking to journalists after a workshop that brought together beekeeping and forest stakeholders from various villages in Coast region. Beneficiaries of the training are beekeepers from Twikinde, Pangani, Wazee Bamba and Mwambisi groups.
The training workshop was organised by a non-governmental organisation dubbed—Kibaha Nature Conservation Initiative.
Hussein noted that beekeeping is positioned to help many Tanzanians graduate from poverty due to high demand of honey within and outside the country.
He said the trained beekeepers will be supervised by experts from the forestry department and Tanzania Bureau of Standards (TBS) to ensure they produce quality honey that can be marketed around the world.
“The government should prioritize beekeeping as one of the economic activities to people living in rural areas; we have also donated 40 beehives to make sure they immediately engage in modern beekeeping after the training,” he said adding that the organisation will also provide beehives to individual villagers to help them battle poverty.
Chairman of CCM parents’ wing in Kibaha, Edwin Shunda said the training to beekeepers was part of implementation of the party’s directive. He said beekeepers are now expected to produce quality honey that can compete regionally.
He said the parent’s wing has also been provided with 25 beehives, insisting members will engage in beekeeping to raise funds.
Training beneficiary, Cleophamary Edwin said: “practicing modern beekeeping will enable us generate income and improve the welfare of our families and the nation as well”.
According to the Tanzania Forest Service (TFS), Tanzania has the potential to produce over 100,000 tonnes of honey per year but currently produces slightly over 50,000 tonnes.
Tanzania has a total land of 945,203 sq km where 4.53 per cent is arable and 6.2 per cent is water. The forest cover of Tanzania is 38.8 million ha which is 39 per cent of the land cover.
According to the Tanzania Honey Council (THC) beekeeping can be practiced countrywide although production potential varies from one location to the other.
The sector employs about 2 million people and generates about US $ 2 million p.a. It also helps in bio-diversity and in increasing agricultural production through pollination.
Data from THC indicates that the country's production potential is huge having about 38.8 million ha of forests and woodlands ideal for beekeeping. Utilization of this potential is only about 7 per cent.
Several policies which affect beekeeping in Tanzania include the National Beekeeping Policy (NBP) which was formulated in 1998 with the purpose of enhancing the sector’s economic contribution and management of natural resources through active participation of all stakeholders.
Two instruments have been put in place to effect its implementation; The National Beekeeping Programme 2001-2010 and the Beekeeping Act No. 15 of 2002.