Pinda urges bees sub-sector modernisation

21May 2019
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
Pinda urges bees sub-sector modernisation

FORMER Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda yesterday called on beekeepers to adopt modern and advanced beekeeping techniques to produce quality honey that can be sold internationally.

Pinda made the call when addressing beekeepers and key players in the sub-sector, who gathered here to showcase bee products as part of marking the World Bee Day, themed ‘Save the Bees.’

The three-day event which was flagged off on Saturday was being held at the Nyerere Square grounds in capital.

Pinda suggested the need for beekeepers and honey traders to form cooperative societies to share experience, market information and learn modern beekeeping methods.

He insisted that it is only through cooperative societies that beekeepers can boost honey trade within and outside the country.

“Most keepers in Tanzania use traditional beekeeping methods with old hives. We should adopt modern and advanced beekeeping techniques to produce quality honey that can be sold internationally. Through cooperative unions we can share experience as well as market information and learn the best ways of honey preservation,” said Pinda, who is also a noted beekeeper.

Honey is consumed as the main food to some tribes in Tanzania like the Hadza and the product is also used as medicine by a variety of tribes and in alternative medicine as a whole, he pointed out.

Dr Ezekiel Mwakalukwa, the director of Forestry and Beekeeping in the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism, said the exhibition brought together 17 exhibitors from across Tanzania, including eight institutions.

Natural Resources and Tourism Minister Dr Hamisi Kigwangala said the World Bee Day exhibition was held for the first time in Tanzania after the United Nations (UN) announced it in December 2017. He said the UN arrived at the decision in recognition of the importance of bees in pollinating food crops.

Minister Kigwangala stated that plans are underway to construct honey processing factories in districts across ten regions in the coming financial year.

The industries will be given to groups of beekeepers whereas the government will support them with beehives to boost production, he said.

Beekeeping employs more than two million people in the country and contributes to the national economy by generating about $19 million per annum.

In his 2018/2019 budget speech, Dr Kigwangala said that in the year 2017/18, Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) collected 6,519 kilos of honey and 218 kilos of beeswax from 143 apiaries with 9,448 hives.

Meanwhile, Slow Food has launched an international “Slow Bees” action,   in defence of pollinators and provide greater resonance, outreach and visibility to the threats bees and other pollinators, plants and biodiversity face today.

Roundabout 75 per cent of global food crops rely on insect pollination. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), today’s species are facing extinction rates 100 to 1,000 times higher than past century normal owing to climate change and widening human impacts.

Aspiring to respond to the devastating statistics, Slow Food activists will spend World Bee Day planting organic flowering shrubs or trees to support clean pollinator forage.

The worldwide mobilisation to act will be launched online, using hashtags #onetreeforahive #plantoneforpollinators #slowtreesforbees.

“We are a diverse group of people who believe that talking about the world of bees and pollinators is the key to observing, learning, measuring and protecting biodiversity, while inviting traditional, ancient and indigenous knowledge of sustainable agriculture practice to the fore,” say beekeepers Jennifer Holmes from Florida, Terry Oxford from California (US) and Guido Cortese from Italy, who coordinate the Slow Food activities for the World Bees Day.