Author(s): John Mwandifura, Lovemore Chikazhe, Josphat Manyeruke and Nilton Mashavakure
This study was carried out to assess the entrepreneurial potentials and opportunities of beekeeping in Manicaland Province of Zimbabwe to meet customer honey quality preferences. Honey in Zimbabwe is considered as a delicious food; for old people, sick and pregnant women. The price of honey is determined by its quality. Consumers worldwide value quality of food when buying food for consumption. The research focused on honey physco-chemical properties in Manicaland province of Zimbabwe: moisture contents, hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), diastase (amylase) activity, reducing sugars (glucose and fructose), pH, ash and electrical conductivity. To study the physco-chemical properties of the honeys collected from the seven districts of Manicaland province, eighty five honey samples were collected and stored under refrigerator conditions until the chemical analyses were conducted in the laboratory. All the honey samples were collected, kept in tied glass bottles (250 gm/sample), and put directly in the refrigerator until the experimental analysis was done in the laboratory. For each parameter, the tests were replicated three times and the mean values were recorded. All the samples were found to be within the recommended levels.
The eighty five honey samples were taken from the seven districts in the province. The districts are Chipinge, Chimanimani, Buhera, Makoni, Mutasa, Mutare and Nyanga. Ten honey samples were taken from each of the seven districts to make them seventy honey samples and fifteen honey samples were taken from the traditional beehives (5), Kenyan Top Bar hives (5) and Langstroth (5). The honey was analyzed in the laboratory. All the samples were found to be within the international standards. The results were showing that honey produced in Manicaland province of Zimbabwe can be exported and earn foreign currency for the country. The quality of honey produced in Manicaland has a potential to improve the status quo of the honey entrepreneurs in the province if taken seriously due to the high price of similar quality of honey at which honey is sold in other countries.