Honey dealers in the country are set to receive better margins after Rwanda Bureau of Standards (RBS) established the quality standards to boost the product in the market.
Rwandan honey has seen tremendous demand both locally and internationally.
The Managing Director of RBS, Mark Bagabe Cyubahiro, says that the recent increase in demand for honey has called for standards and checks to ensure quality.
“We have taken a multiple pronged approach to make sure that Rwandan honey meets international standards compliant by offering training to farmers and dealers,” he said.
Cyubahiro said that demand for honey has increased due to the growing tourism sector that has seen more hotels put up around the country.
“We have a big market here locally, in the Middle East and Europe. The challenge is for beekeepers to go for high volumes by acquiring big beehives to increase production.”
Speaking to Business Times, Cyubahiro was upbeat about the future of Rwandan honey industry, saying that international honey standards were availed to certify quality.
“The market demand requires certain standards that we could not meet because the international market demands organic products that are pesticide free”, he said
He noted that honey collected in agricultural areas where pesticides are sprayed normally contain copper, a metal that is dangerous to human body’s functions.
Such metals including the cancer causing carcinogenic that is found in smoke which is used by many famers to harvest honey are the critical elements that lower the quality, making it harmful.
However, efforts are in progress to create awareness among honey farmers against using smoke.
He said that five companies had been certified, adding that certification mainly looks at whole value chain aspects.
Florida Uwamariya, the Accounts Administrator of Rwanda beekeeping services centre said farmers have been trained in safe extraction, post harvest honey management and packaging which has improved quality.
“We are looking at how we can maintain hygiene and quality honey processing and setting up scale processing equipment to upgrade the quality standards and produce”, she said.
She added that they have received international demand for Rwandan honey due to its naturalness due to well endowed forests and eco systems.