By Wallace Mawire
Zimbabwe will in 2014 host an international beekeeping conference, API-Expo Africa, an international beekeeping conference meant to promote beekeeping in the country and Africa at large.
According to Beekeepers Association of Zimbabwe (BKAZ) National Coordinator, Chaipa Mutandwa,API-Trade Africa in Uganda is the organizing body and secretariat of the expo.
Mutandwa said the expo is also to be co-hosted by the local Ministry of Agriculture, Mechanization and Irrigation Development. “The Ministry of Agriculture is the responsible institution since the Bees Act falls under the ministry,”Mutandwa said. He added that the expo will be held under the theme:Beekeeping for economic empowerment for Africa.
Mutandwa says at least 3 000 delegates are expected to attend the expo, who include exhibitors, local producers including service providers, just to mention a few.
Delegates are also expected to come from the SADC region, Africa including other countries in Europe. He added that the expo is to be attended by manufacturers of beekeeping equipment from countries like German, Poland and Italy.
The manufacturers are expected to showcase modern equipment for the beekeeping sector. The expo will also focus on researches,sharing of knowledge,ideas including new technologies in the sector, according to the organizers.
Mutandwa is the Secretary to the local organizing committee for the expo.
BKAZ was launched in March 2003. He added that the expo will create a networking platform,provide an opportunity for sector members to lobby for favourable policies and create market linkage opportunities for producers.
Mutandwa adds that the beekeeping sector in Zimbabwe has over 50 000 producers. He said his association is planning to put in place a desk to target farmers wishing to enter into commercial beekeeping.
“We want to promote commercial production of honey in Zimbabwe,” he said. The expo is also expected to promote value addition in the sector which is reported to be lagging behind.
“We wish to change the mindset of the local producer, to see the importance of value addition,” Mutandwa said.
The expo is also expected to create a platform for local producers to penetrate high value markets.