THE Matabeleland Beekeepers’ Association has challenged government to introduce stringent control measures on the use of pesticides and insecticides, saying they pose a serious threat to the country’s bee population.
BY SILAS NKALA
The association’s secretary, Welcome Bhila, who is also the Zimbabwe Apiculture Platform secretary and runs Bee’s Honey Company in Bulawayo, said uncontrolled use of pesticides were affecting bees and other pollinators, which could result in shortages of honey.
He said Matabeleland Beekeepers’ Association, which is an affiliate of Zimbabwe Apiculture Platform, would be hosting the belated World Bee Day in Bulawayo on June 2 to raise awareness on the importance pollinators.
The World Bee Day, which falls on May 20, was set aside by the United Nations and it was the brainchild of Slovenian Antone Jonsa, who teaches beekeeping in Austria.
“Jonsa wrote to the UN, backed by 15 other countries, to ask for the celebrations to be held on May 20 because it is the day when the pioneer of modern beekeeping Jonsa was born. The UN considered proposal considering the importance of bees to the environment and survival of humans,” he said.
“This supports findings by scholar Albert Einstein that if the bees disappear from the planet earth man will not have more than four years to live.
Bhila said Einstein’s remarks support the idea that without bees, there is no food, no trees and no life.
“As Zimbabwe we will be holding the belated celebrations on June 2 in Bulawayo, we will have a march in town with school kids, stakeholders and civic society,” he said.
Bhila said the march is to raise awareness on the importance of the honey bees and other pollinators.
“We want to tell the government to control the use of pesticides . . . We also want them to consider beekeeping as lucrative farming venture as honey exports can earn foreign currency for the nation considering the demand of honey local and international,” he added.
Bhila said financial institutions were unwilling to give loans to the beekeeping industry
He said his organisation and company were involved in every value chain of bee production and training programmes, which are conducted in conjunction with Environmental Management Agency and several other agricultural involved organisations.