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“Let’s Protect Our Fees”: Farmers Fold

By Faith Chimutsa

The Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries Water and Rural Development has encouraged bee farmers to be critical mass beekeepers in Zimbabwe.

The achievement of government thrust and vision of 2030 on food sustainance and food security pollination and pollinators protection is key in achieving the agricultural effort, for without the pollinator, our crop production will not achieve the desired yields.

In order to protect bees, efforts are being made through working with bee farmers who are urged to protect bees inorder to safeguard the livelihoods of Zimbabweans.

Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Lands, Agriculture, Fisheries, Water and Rural Development, John Bhasera in his speech read on his behalf by Agritex Chief Director, Professor Obert Jiri, said bee production is focusing on sustainable agriculture practices which will result in sufficient and surplus food reserves for the nation.

“Let’s learn to apply the best agriculture practices in line with our national agriculture police, the National Development Strategy, what it specifies when it comes to smart, resilient and sustainable food production systems,” read Prof Jiri.

“My challenge to researchers is to come up with a study to help in building knowledge on agriculture education, understand and attach value on the importance of the pollinator, such that as they learn, their extension work will help achieve food sustainability and be able to impart the knowledge to farmers on the effects of pollinator deficit. This is a very fast way to spread information through extension,” said Jiri.

National Director Bee Keepers Association of Zimbabwe, Chaipa Mutandwa applauded that we encourage the Ministry to actually consider our efforts and come up with a mechanism such that we have specific land reserved for the bee keepinh where say we have created the bee bank. That reserve will help to resuscitate the waning bee sector.

In an interview with a bee farmer, she emphasised the importance of bees in the eco system.

Chitapi said No trees/No bees/No livelihoods. “Bees play a major role in pollination of crops, this impacts positively on seed production and crop yields. The survival of bees is dependent on presence of key habitats within the ecosystem such as forests, wetlands and farmland. The key resources needed for thriving of bee population in an area are availability of water and flowering plants,” said Chitapi.

“Human actions such as continued deforestation through cutting down of trees for wood energy and land clearance, veld fires, continued plundering of wetland areas, absence of culture of planting trees within communities and use of chemicals is detrimental to the survival of bees,” she added.

Meanwhile, farmers are encouraged to enter into partnership with beekeepers to create a business win-win situation by introducing bee-colonies in their fields during flowering stages, this improves yields quality. This creates a business line to the beekeepers as the farmer realises good harvest.

Besides harvest of wild honey, local communities need to wake up to the massive opportunities that lie in bee farming.

The project is not labour intensive neither does it require massive funding. Bee keeping is a low hanging fruit awaiting harnessing.

The results are sweet.