World Bee Day: Govt urged to subsidise beekeepers

By Valentine Oforo , The Guardian
Published at 08:00 AM May 21 2024
Photo: File

THE government has been challenged to roll out a special subsidy scheme meant to empower the local bee farmers to improve production and productivity.

It has been revealed that the majority of bee farmers in Tanzania are short of the financial muscles to manage their projects professionally, exacerbating low honey quality, among others.

Giving an exclusive interview on the sideline of observation of this year’s World Bee Day (WBD) in Dodoma Capital City, the Director General (DG) for Igembensabo Farm Implements Limited, Mazzari Taji said the sector was facing myriad challenges.

He observed Tanzania has been endowed with useful ecological zones for supporting the flourishing of beekeeping activities, but the involved farmers are being crowded - out from benefiting accordingly, due to several factors. 

"Lack of access to modern bee hives, clouds-connected honey processing machines, and poor technology in honey harvest standards among serious challenges that frustrate the local beekeeping farmers, "Taji expressed. 

Due to the prevailing setbacks, he said the indigenous bee farmers are failing to benefit from the available prestigious international markets.

"For years, the players in the country's apiculture sector have been failing to produce hygienic honey with international standards due to the challenges,” he insisted. 

To help overcome the challenges, he said his company, Igembensabo Farm Implements Limited, is working to assist the beekeeping farmers in the regions of Singida, Iringa, Manyara, Njombe, and Dodoma. 

"In the robust program, we have entered into three-year contracts with a record number of out-grower bee farmers, through which, we're injecting them with modern beehives, and as per the sealed pact, the farmers are supposed to sell all of their produced honey to our company, " Taji detailed. 

He communicated that, after the phasing out of the contract, the beehives remain the property of the beneficiary bee farmers. As part of the vital contract scheme, and he observed that the reputable apiculture company is also assisting the bee farmers to improve their beekeeping areas and other key facilities, to comply with the recommended international standards.

"The government must also mull over the possibility of lowering, or removing some unnecessary and unfriendly taxes being imposed to the imported honey packaging facilities," he urged.

The local apiculture mogul, Taji also spoke about the need for the financial institutions in the country to provide capital loans to small-scale bee farmers to boost their initiatives. 

With its headquarters based in Nanenane grounds, in the Nzuguni area, at the fringe of Dodoma Capital City, Igembensabo Farm Implements Limited stands among the leading apiculture stakeholders in the country, which works round the clock to supplement efforts by the government to heighten the performance of beekeeping sector.

Tanzania stands 14th country for beekeeping in the world and 2nd in Africa with most of the country's produced honey and beeswax often exported to Germany, France, Belgium Netherlands, Oman, USA, Japan, Botswana, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, Congo DRC, Somali and neighboring Kenya.

The country holds at least 48.1 million hectares of forests, equivalent to 54 percent of the county’s area, whereby the government-reserved forest area is 465 hectares, including 24 tree plantations, 23 natural environmental conservation areas, and 20 beekeeping reserves.

World Bee Day is celebrated each year, on 20th May, to raise awareness of the essential role bees and other pollinators play in keeping people and the planet healthy, and in the many challenges they face today. 

The annual-staged event has been celebrated since 2018, being concerted efforts of the Government of Slovenia with the support of Apimondia, which led the UN General Assembly.

This year’s event focuses on the theme of "Bee Engaged with Youth." This theme highlights the importance of involving young people in beekeeping and pollinator conservation efforts, recognizing them as the future stewards of our environment.

Bees and other pollinators are essential for allowing sustaining agriculture and biodiversity worldwide. With over 20,000 species of bees and various other wild pollinators, they face challenges from human activities, such as habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change.    But research shows that today bees, pollinators, and many other insects are declining in abundance. 

This year's WBD provides an opportunity for all of the participants - governments, organizations, civil society, and other concerned citizens – to promote actions that will protect and enhance pollinators and their habitats, improve their abundance and diversity, and support the sustainable development of beekeeping. 

Furthermore, the vision is to foster more diverse agricultural systems, and reducing reliance on toxic chemicals can facilitate increased pollination. This approach can improve food quality and quantity, benefiting both human populations and the ecosystem.