Beekeeping in Tanzania: why is beekeeping not commercially viable in Mvomero?

Author Biographies

Nicholaus B. Tutuba

  1. School of Business, Mzumbe University. Tanzania

Wim Vanhaverbeke

  1. Strategy & Innovation Management, Hasselt University, Belgium

Main Article Content

Nicholaus B. Tutuba

Wim Vanhaverbeke

Published Aug 17, 2018


Beekeeping is a long established economic activity in Tanzania. It contributes to the national economy by generating some US$ 19 million per annum and employing more than two million people. Beekeeping produces food and medicines, makes a significant contribution to bio-diversity, and encourages agricultural production through pollination. Moreover, more than 50% of Tanzania is covered by forests suitable for beekeeping. This potential is not fully exploited, and the sector is non-commercial. This study analyses the causes of the inability of rural Tanzanian beekeepers to establish commercially viable businesses. Using the case study research design, this qualitative study was conducted in the Mvomero district. Triangulation sampling techniques were used to select different beekeeping actors. Data was collected through interviews, focus group discussions, and observation. The descriptive analysis and ‘current tree reality’ of thinking process techniques were used to identify constraints that limit beekeepers from commercial- ising the sector. The challenges that are repeatedly cited as the main hindrances to the growth and development of beekeeping include over-reliance on traditional hives and honey production methods, low volumes, poor quality honey, limited access to finance, and insufficient fodder. We conclude that insufficient beekeeping expertise (knowledge and skills) and management are the two critical underlying factors that have led to the current situation. Since this study was limited to answering the first question of the theory of constraints approach, a further study is suggested to answer the remaining two questions. Moreover, a study to assess obstacles that hinder the adop- tion of top bar hives in the area is vitally important.

Key words: beekeeping, commercial beekeeping, theory of constraints, beekeeping constraints, Tanzania

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