The National Hive Siting Day
This is the day that was started by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism to boost the quality and quantity production of honey and other bee products like wax because Tanzania has about 48 million hectares of forests (about 50% of the country) which has a potential of prudicing 130,000 tons of honey, but only 40,000 tons are produced todate.
Beekeeping has been the cheapest economic undertaking for rural communities. The sector is characterized by just old people engaging in the practice. Youth have been less interested just because this is done in the forests and far from common services. However, youth un employment has been very big challenge in Tanzania.
The Prime Minister Mr. Mizengo Peter Pinda has been in the fore front in promoting beekeeping where he upgraded the beekeeping section in the Local Government authorities to full department. He also make beekeeping a permanent agenda in his day to day activities including including some in his speeches. He also personally manage a bee farm.
As the awareness is now high to people in Tanzania, the sector finds the participation of even rare people like businessmen. Its now not old people in the rural but also rich businessmen are engaged. We register many requests in these two years for where people can get right beehives and also requests for extension services. Some people have changed minds of using their lands from agriculture to beekeeping.
In promoting beekeeping, the Tanzania Forest Services (TFS) that has a mandate of overseeing the forests and bee reserves in Tanzania, is engaging communities surrounding the forest reserves (catchment forests for water conservation) in beekeeping by donating transitional (between modern and log hives) beehives so that they harness the nector potential from the natural forests and hence some kind of incentive to jointly manage the forests in JFM approach. In this way, they contribute in protecting the forests.
So, this national day has a political will and also has economic incentive. Most beehives are log hives. However, TFS is promoting the use of transitional and modern bee hives because they are producing more honey. In most forests, one hive produces about 20lts of honey. A litre of honey is sold at retail price of Tsh. 10,000 (about USD 6).
Last year we just lauched by siting hives. This year the host region (Katavi) has modified it by having a week long activities including siting hives in all three districts whereby more than 500 new hives were sited. Nationally (where every region has sited hives) more than 2000 hives were sited in one day.