RE: “Honey shortage as EU market demands more” (The New Times, March 30).
Rwandan honey access to European markets is another score of success to Rwandans. Moreover, our ancestors used to call Rwanda the “Land of Milk and Honey” – we therefore need not betray this noble cause, and we should individually or collectively work to restore this lost glory.
In fact, Rwandans should equally have access to honey we produce, this will go a long way in substituting imported sugar we consume that is at times not compatible with our health needs.
On the modern hives versus traditional hives, this is logically true to a certain extent, but on the cost benefit of this business, I would encourage increasing the numbers of traditional hives as we sort out hurdles related to the “modern” hives.
Private driven initiatives are urgently needed to win this battle; dealers in timber as a raw material for modern bee hives need to ensure there are enough ovens to dry timber for quality bee hives.
Integration of beekeeping in green growth initiatives will help restore our productive capacity in honey production; in fact, it makes more sense to consolidate land in beekeeping, in doing so we shall overcome soil erosion, by planting trees or crops friendly to bees as well as learning from the Girinka concept and apply it in beekeeping.
Beekeeping is a perfect way to implement the “Made in Rwanda” initiative and import substitution. Honey processing creates jobs from beehive making, beekeeping, and candle making, to mention but a few.
We need to act now or never.
This is a good problem to have. However, our honey producers, dealers, processors, and exporters need to make sure that, in their understandable haste to expand production to satisfy the demand from the European market, they do not compromise on the current quality of Rwanda’s natural honey – the very characteristic that makes it so attractive to European consumers and is the main factor in the premium quality of Rwanda-branded honey.