Lovemore Kadzura Rusape Correspondent
THE country is losing a lot of potential revenue from lucrative honey export markets because of the limited quantities being produced.
Zimbabwean honey is reputed for its high quality.
This was revealed by honey expert Mr Robert Mutisi who is also the chairman of Makoni Beekeepers Association when he said that honey was a multi-billion industry in Europe adding that there was need for proper coordination among beekeepers in Zimbabwe to penetrate those markets.
Mr Mutisi said the high quality of Zimbabwean honey had charmed Netherlands honey expert, Mr Herman Bisschop from the Technical Centre for Agriculture who was recently in the country and subsequently took some samples, which passed their quality tests.
“Honey is a multi-billion dollar industry but Zimbabwe, despite its quality honey is not deriving meaningful benefits from its trade. Honey producers are failing to satisfy even the local market leading to fake honey flooding the market.
“It is not a Herculean task for us to produce enough for the export market. Our country has very favourable climatic conditions for bees to thrive and produce quality honey. Recently a honey expert from the Netherlands visited Makoni Beekeepers Association and took samples back to his home country where our honey passed their quality tests.
“The expert said we could export to the Netherlands but the challenge is that we are still producing very small quantities of honey. If all producers up their game and commercialise beekeeping, we will break into the European markets and reap the rewards,” said Mr Mutisi.
He further added that his association had revamped its operations and now had 550 beehives in Manicaland province and was aiming to have at least 1 000 by the end of the year.
They have entered into partnerships with citrus farmers to put their beehives there with some farmers availing land for them to grow sunflowers, which attract bees.
The association was founded in 2014 and has over 100. The association is the first to have honey packaged honey passing the Standards Association of Zimbabwe (SAZ) laboratory tests and subsequently the nod to export to COMESA and East Africa markets in 2014.