By Patricia Bianca S. Taculao

In order to boost honey production and avoid its shortage in the country, the Rwanda government granted beekeepers the right to use state forests for farming activities.

This request was prompted by the decline in honey production. Beekeepers were also clamoring for the need to protect bees from being exposed to pesticides that could affect their numbers.

Farmers argued that the practice of crop production mixed with bee farming was exposing the insects to dangerous pesticides that leads to a massive death of bees and a low output of honey.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources, the country’s honey production has dropped from 5,000 tons in 2016 to 3,500 tons in 2017.

The Federation of Beekeepers in Rwanda cited the use of pesticides as the major cause in the dwindling number of bees and that protected forest areas are the most appropriate places for bee farming.

The association also shows that there are about 90,000 modern beehives and 200,000 traditional beehives across Rwanda.

As per the Rwanda Agriculture Board, the average annual honey demand in the country is estimated to be at least 4,500 tons.

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