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Tanzania eyes doubling honey production

Thursday December 17 2020
honey pic

Beekeepers inspect a beehive. Future Development Initiatives (Fu-DI) based in Ikungi District, Singida Region, has trained 108 representatives of beekeeping groups on forest preservation and modern beekeeping methods. Tanzania is currently mulling doubling its honey production to reach an annual turnover of at least 60,000 tonnes. PHOTO | FILE

By Rosemary Mirondo

Dar es Salaam. Some processing factories are in the offing in regions producing honey as Tanzania plans to double production of the sweet golden liquid whose global market is surging.

This would in turn also catalyse growth of bee-keeping as keepers would have a better market for their products.

Tanzania is the second leading producer of honey in Africa after Ethiopia. Tanzanian is endowed with over 450 natural forests that include plantations, mangrove, nature forest reserves and bee reserves.

Tanzania Forestry Service (TFS) agency says it has decided to set up factories in some regions with the aim of ensuring honey markets and ultimately attracting more producers.

TFS’ assistant commissioner responsible for beekeeping, Mr Hussein Msuya, said: “The facilities to be built will be run by various stakeholders including cooperatives for the Kasulu, Sikonge, Bukombe factories while the one in Nzega will be operated by a company set up by an agent.”

He explained that the construction of Kasulu, Bukombe and Sikonge factories has begun while the one in Nzega is expected to begin in January 2021. Tanzania produces at least 30,400 tonnes of honey annually but the plan is to increase the production to 60,000 tonnes in 2025, according to the TFS strategic plan. Ethiopia which is the largest honey producer in Sub-Sahara Africa, produces about 45,000 metric tonnes of raw honey annually.

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In Tanzania, honey is produced mainly in the Western and central regions of Tabora, Katavi, Kigoma, Singida; Southern Highlands regions of Mbeya and Songwe; Southern Zone regions of Ruvuma; and Eastern regions of Morogoro (Kilombero, Kilosa and Gairo districts) and Coast Region (Rufiji District).

In the Northern regions of Kilimanjaro (Same District) and Tanga (Korogwe and Handeni districts) are also prominent.

Honey is a source of food including honey, pollen and brood as well as raw materials for various industries like beeswax candles, lubricants, medicine from honey, propolis and bee venom.

It is also a source of income for beekeepers who dominantly use traditional methods to keep bees.

“The challenge why Tanzania is producing limited production of honey that does not meet the market demand is mostly attributed to drought or excessive rainfall caused by declining flowering,” said Mr Msuya.

He cited other challenges as environmental degradation caused by the destruction of trees that are the source of flowering, as well as incidents of forest fires and at the same time use of agricultural and livestock chemicals which are detrimental to bees.

A resident of Matogolo Village in Kongwa District in Dodoma, Mr Patrick Isaka, who is also the chairman of Juhudi Group Matogolo that deals with beekeeping said the group produces a total of 220 litres of honey annually. “We have a total of 138 beehives that produce honey every June and July,” he said.

He said the major challenge facing their business was lack of markets.

He noted that establishing factories in all areas that produce honey would ensure farmers have reliable markets. For his part, honey producer based in the Sao Hill Forest, Mr Said Aboubakar, said they produce two tonnes of honey annually but face various challenges including attack from honey badger, climate change and fires.

According to research think tank Grand View Research, the global honey market size was estimated at $9.08 billion in 2019 and is expected to reach $9.79 billion in 2020.

The global honey market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.0 percent to $14.43 billion by 2025, it projects.

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