The absence of new technologies is preventing the local bee-keeping industry, from generating large sums of revenue from honey as the majority of the farmers are producing less than ten products out of a possible 300.
Honey is well known for its medicinal qualities which have been proved to cure a number of ailments such as asthma and chest complications.
However, due to absence of high tech processing plants, the capacity of local farmers is heavily affected as they are failing to meet the demand from hotels, pharmacies and supermarkets.
A local farmer Mr Lot Mumpande has teamed up with his counterparts in Hwange and mobilised 50 bee hives to enable them to start a training programme for 35 women this week, so that as more farmers participate, production will increase and meet the market demand.
“When we are assured of the supply side of it, we then need to come up with a processing plant to add value to maximise profitability and we are working with a number of sponsors and they are positive. At the moment we have already identified a piece of land where we will set up that plant, so when we do the value addition we should now be able to produce, maximise production and sell our product,” he explained.
Bee keeping is a low capital business which requires farmers to acquire hives, ensure availability of plants and flowers which attract bees as well as the availability of water throughout the year.
A single hive is usually ready for harvest after three months and produces up to 20 litres, three times a year for five years provided the bees are incentivised to remain in one place. Farmers can generate between $1 500 and $2 100 from one hive per year.
Meanwhile, arrangements are being made with other farmers in Hwange to form a bee keeping association at district level.