Dar es Salaam. Honey producer Api-Africa Investment Company has embarked upon a project to produce seeds for forage and pollen for bees. All this is in an effort to help rural and urban beekeepers to commercialize and, that way, meet the relatively huge demand for bees products in foreign markets.
By doing this, the company is also targeting to assist the government in its efforts to reduce deforestation that is partly contributed to by charcoal producers who make the traditional cooking fuel from trees that are wantonly felled for the purpose.
Instead of indulging in such destructive activities, households can now undertake activities like producing seeds for forage, and beekeeping for honey and beeswax.
The company’s CEO, Philemon Kiemi, told The Citizen that there are many types of native trees in Tanzania, including acacia and ‘miombo’ trees, which could come useful as opportunities for income-generating exploitation at the household level.
One kilogramme of seeds from these two trees is sold at around Sh10,000, the CEO said, adding that virtually anyone can indeed collect the seeds and sell them to Api-Africa Investment. This is much better than felling trees for charcoal – thus causing more deforestation,” Mr Kiemi said.
Speaking at the climax of the ‘2nd Tanzania Industries Exhibition’ that was staged at the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Grounds along Kilwa road in Dar es Salaam from December 7th to 11th this year, the company’s CEO stressed that beekeepers can also benefit from the project, especially by closely working with Api-Africa Investment Company which specializes in producing various bees products for sale in the domestic and export markets.
Revealing that the company had managed to collect 500 kilogrammes of miombo tree seeds and 300 kilograms of acacia tree seeds, Mr Kiemi said that this has earned them more than Sh7 million in a mere three months of work.
The company has plans to start a campaign dubbed ‘Planting for Bees’ in Singida region in February next year to sensitize local communities to the benefits of planting trees. The general idea is to “change the area into green for a green economy,” he explained. As a matter of fact, the company already owns 1.5 million assorted trees on their farm at Kisaki village in Singida region… And plan to plant more.
Indeed, if more people – including beekeepers – plant many more trees in their surroundings as a matter of course, Mr Kiemi said, they would be able to harvest high quality products in greater quantities.