Mutare (Pungwe News- New Ziana)- Allied Timbers, one of the country’s largest timber producers, has trained tens of beekeepers from several districts in Manicaland province as part of its empowerment programme for communities in which it operates in.
Company chief executive Remigio Nenzou said beekeeping was an emerging industry locally that had vast potential, and Allied Timbers wanted to assist in its growth.
Fifty beekeepers in the province had so far received the training from the company, the second batch to be trained after another in Mvuma, Midlands Province.
“It’s one way of giving back to the community and empowering them. Since beekeeping industry has got a huge potential we want to demonstrate that communities can make a decent living through it,” Nenzou said.
“Allied Timbers will also buy their honey. We want the trained beekeepers to sell the honey to us and we will encourage them to look for foreign markets so they can benefit from the entire project,” he said.
Speaking at the graduation ceremony of one batch of trainees, Manicaland Provincial Affairs Minister Ellen Gwaradzimba said the region had huge potential in honey production, and concerted efforts will be made by government to develop the industry.
She said honey markets were large both at home and abroad, and urged the graduates to take beekeeping seriously as a source of livelihood.
“We want to grow our economy and eradicate poverty. We want Manicaland to be declared as a special economic zone for honey production, hence I want to see results since you have been trained.
“My director Peter Ngorima went to an apiculture conference in Canada where we found development partners who are keen to fund beekeeping and honey production. Manicaland was deemed as one of the provinces with a potential to venture into a big honey business,” Gwaradzimba said.
“We have forests with both indigenous and exotic trees which means the province has got a huge potential to be a hub of honey production in Zimbabwe.
“I understand that there is a ready market outside Zimbabwe which needs honey and at the moment we cannot satisfy that demand. So we do not want to hear about unemployment in rural areas because you have been empowered through Allied Timbers beekeeping training initiative,” she said.
Among other things, honey is used in the production of medicines, cosmetics and candles.