Beekeeping is proving to be a viable business for a resettled farmer in Chipinge rural as he ventures into honey processing targeting to harvest up to 10 000 tonnes of honey annually up from  the current one tonne.

Having started from humble beginnings as an ordinary worker at a local tea company, farmer Tavarwisa Sibanda took advantage of the country’s land reform after being allocated a piece of land in the year 2001 in Chipinge rural ward eight, to venture into apiary industry in 2003.

 Sibanda who is now an apiarist has about 120 beehives, some of which are right at his homestead growing his business to produce a tonne of honey annually prompting him to resign from formal employment and now focuses on expanding his business venture.

The 43 years old farmers said despite his rural set up, he now produces various products such as candles, shoe polish and cobra from by-products found after processing honey at his rural residents and supplies local supermarkets in Chipinge town.

To impart his knowledge to others, Sibanda formed the Chipinge Beekeeping Association training 162 women to date and he believes with more support he will make at least 3 000 beehives, the apiary industry can grow extensively in the area increasing production to up to 15 000 tonnes while he can produce up to 10 000 alone. 

One of the women beneficiaries of the training project Talent Marwendo said the project has helped to sustain livelihoods in the area.

Sibanda said the community needs to protect forests in order to promote beekeeping projects that also provide a balance to the ecosystem.