International Journal of Agriculture and Environmental Research™

ISSN 2455-6939


Iddi Mwanyoka

Beekeeping in Tanzania plays a major role in socio-economic development and environmental conservation. It is a source of food (e.g. honey, pollen and brood), raw materials for various industries, medicine and source of income for beekeepers. It is estimated that the sector generates about US$ 1.7 each year from sales of honey and beeswax and employ about 2 million rural people. It is an important income generating activity with high potential for improving incomes, especially for communities living close to forests and woodlands. Despite whole range of benefits emanating from this sector; its potentials are yet to be adequately tapped to respond to the goals and objectives of the existing policy, legislations and National Beekeeping Programme and indeed contribute significantly to the rural community livelihoods improvement in Tanzania. Studies indicate that there is a huge mismatch between honey production potential and actual production in Tanzania. This paper draws from the project: "Promoting beekeeping as an innovative mechanism for biodiversity conservation and community livelihoods improvement in the East Usambara Mountains". This is an on-going project being implemented in two villages adjacent to the Amani Nature (ANR) involving 12 beekeeping groups comprised of 120 members, both males and females. Data for this paper were obtained through project monitoring exercises, consultative meetings with village leaders and community participating members from the project villages, field observation, desk review and discussion with key informants. Findings show a range of challenges and opportunities. A number of challenges have been recorded notably community inadequate knowledge on modern beekeeping and the real value of honey and other bee-related products, lack of knowledge on the existing supportive policies, plans and on beekeeping in Tanzania and lack of well-organized community groups/associations for beekeeping just to mention a few. Despite all these challenges there exist a lot of opportunities for a vibrant beekeeping initiative in the East Usambaras and Tanzania in general. These includes presence of a favorable beekeeping policy, land policy, forest policy and others, eagerness and readiness of the community members to participate in modern beekeeping and available markets for the honey and bee-related products. Conclusively; the paper indicates that the existing potential for modern beekeeping in the East Usambaras cannot be overemphasized and that if judiciously taped it can play significant role in terms of improved biodiversity and community livelihoods in the East Usambaras. Both internal and external support is therefore called for to capacitate the community in the East Usambaras for their productive participation in the beekeeping sector.

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