Tanzania Honey Council (THC) is a nongovernmental, nonprofit apex body that encompasses all stakeholders in the beekeeping subsector. It is a member based organization with membership comprising of individual beekeepers, cooperative societies, institutions, business entities including corporations and individual traders as well as individuals. It is registered as a company not having a share capital and limited by guarantee.
The Council aims at improving competitiveness through development of value chain in the subsector.
The organization structure for THC is provided for in the MEMART. The organization is governed by an Executive Committee of 12 members, elected by the AGM. The committee is composed of the following members; Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and representatives from various stakeholders as follow: 2 from beekeepers, one trader, one researcher, one government representative, one from institutions/NGOs and one from beekeeping technology institution.
Day to day activities are to be performed by a full-time secretariat, headed by a Chief Executive and constituted by other necessary staff. The secretariat is yet to be put in place for the moment.
In the past, the beekeeping subsector had been organised and the development was coordinated by the government and the donors. Beekeepers’ organizations were established that supported the small beekeepers. One such organization was the Tabora Beekeepers Cooperative Society (TBCS) with membership spanning throughout the Tabora region and parts of Mbeya and Rukwa regions. However with some trade reasons TBCS collapsed in 2005. This shattered the confidence of the many members who become reluctant to form into groups and associations. This had a dire consequence on the organization of the sector. It was only recently, that efforts have gained speed to revive the cooperatives under the banner of the newly registered Association of Tanzania Beekeepers Cooperative Unions and several primary cooperative unions.
In absence of the cooperative or other forms of organization, the sector witnessed a rapid decline into an unorganized disenfranchised situation where any and every player used their own preferred methods of beekeeping, harvesting, processing and marketing. All the past efforts at improving production and productivity through use of better technology, and at ensuring quality and improving revenues through collective processing and marketing, were lost. So were the efforts at standardization of the beekeeping processes and marketing.
A value chain analysis (VCA) was conducted by Match Makers in 2007 and observed that the national level organization of the bee keeping sector was weak. Many different initiatives under many different organizations in different parts of the country were being undertaken, but there was little networking, hardly any rolling out of pilot projects, nor any concerted effort at bringing together the individual beekeepers and traders into groups and/or associations that would add value in terms of bulking, marketing and lobbying. The report further observed that organization of the sector was necessary for a number of issues which included improvement of productivity, traceability and quality assurances, marketing and lobbying.
The VCA report therefore recommended that “What was definitely needed is a widely represented policy dialogue body spearheaded by a Honey Council as a local institutional framework. The council could ensure participation of public-private and civil organizations that are involved in the beekeeping sector. It could also act as a dialogue partner with government on policy development and implementation issues”
Way back in 2005 in a workshop on “Enhancing Self-Understanding and Interaction among Stakeholders in the Honey Value Chain in Tanzania” sponsored by SIDA & CDE, an observation was made that: “Unless the sector was organized, it was difficult and costly to talk about improving the value chain competitiveness as most of the chain links were not clear, where they can be defined they are relatively weak, information flow was not streamlined, trust among stakeholders was very low and among traders, business was all about competition and none about networking/alliance.”
As a way forward, the workshop proposed that steps should be taken, led by the private sector, to look into how the sector could be organized, and that; “An organization (network, alliance, association, etc.) be formed that will Spearhead the development of the sector including providing input to legal and policy frameworks, ownership of the sector development process, dialogue, market development, R&D, and representation of the sector in local and international avenue.”
A private company, National Honey Show Limited (NHS), established in 2006, took the initiative to organize the sector in terms of marketing and trade promotion. It successfully organized two national honey shows in Dodoma in 2006 and 2007.
During the national honey show in 2007, the stakeholders agreed to establish an apex body that will coordinate the public – private efforts towards developing the sector and to organize an annual honey event that is owned by all stakeholders. As a result, the Honey Partners’ Forum was formed, which has now become the Tanzania Honey Council Limited.
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