A farmer who might have kept 10 beehives only, this translates into a clean 3m/- within a very short time. Assuring people wishing to venture in the lucrative business, the Principal Beekeeping Officer, Mr Mathew Kiondo, was quoted at the weekend as saying that bees only needed a calm atmosphere, a little far away from strong winds, rain and fire. He added that by nature, bees don’t like disturbance.
A quick assessment of the bees’ habitat shows that Tanzania is indeed endowed with vast hectares of land suitable for beekeeping and can produce millions of tonnes of honey now in high demand worldwide, particularly in the European Union market. Having immensely benefited from beekeeping, Prime Minister Mizengo Pinda has often called on people to give it a try. When winding business in parliament last week he said the country had potential to produce 200 million litres of honey per year, but was currently harvesting less than five million.
Very often, people especially the youth complain of lack of employment after graduating from schools and colleges. A number of them go for petty businesses which won’t even grow due to meagre capital. The idea could be adopted at the district council level where small youth groups showing interest in the business could get funds and be shown how and where to start. It may not even require funds due to its simplicity. Also, to help youth adapt to beekeeping, the Ministry of Natural Resources, should not only play the advocacy role but should be prepared to extend expertise -- through extension officers.
That goes further to suggest a well established beekeeping infrastructure to care for young farmers and their products. They should be assured of transport and markets as often these have been a hitch in other farm produce businesses. A well established beekeeping would definitely attract more youths and life would be different for poor families.