THE Swaziland Honey Council (SHC) will require more than E2.8 million for its activities this year, which also includes the amendment of the Importation Control Act of 1910.
SHC’s Mandla Langwenya said about E220 000 would be for the establishment of business clinics for honeybee farmers while E80 000 was needed for the SHC honey competition, amongst some of its core activities.
He said a financial model would be developed for member farmers. Langwenya said going forward, the SHC was of the view that if honeybees were to be regarded as the cornerstone of food security and to foster continued industry growth, then beekeeping had to be made a fully fledged sector with all the required support resources to be realised.
He said in 2007, the ministry of agriculture and TechnoServe were instrumental in advocating for coordination of the honey industry in the country, which heavily relied on the honey programmes.
“There is need for the SHC to have a full time secretariat to dedicate its time and energy on the development and coordination of the honey industry. SHC is an apex body established in 2007 with the aim of coordinating activities concerned with the production of honey and related products in Swaziland following a study that revealed the honey industry was not coordinated,” he said.
Farmers Langwenya said the council needed to continue working on the betterment of honeybee farmers and the industry through a number of areas, including working on the honey industry development and legislation, for example, the Council Bill and Veterinary Bill, as well as repealing of the old 1983 Act where bees were classified.
He said the SHC would disseminate information to all stakeholders from time to time and encourage the formation of strong regional council associations for knowledge and information sharing.
Langwenya said the council would strive for quality honey and products the industry and Swaziland would be proud of through ongoing training and mentorship programmes to benefit the farmers.
He said it would also provide a service to farmers, such as market access and value addition to the final products.
Langwenya said going forward, the protection of Swaziland’s honey and beekeeping industry would be crucial for the diversity of the country and for food security.
He said this was crucial for job creation and human dignity. Langwenya said the platform for growth of Swaziland’s beekeeping industry was almost in place.
“Liaison with the department of agricultural extension, forestry and related organisations or industries is essential in order to continue momentum and addressing key crosscutting constraints.
“The control of imports to address issues of honeybee pests and diseases as well as to guard against sub-standard honeybee products infiltrating our borders must be treated with the urgency and importance it deserves,” he said.