Tanzania has a good environment for producing high quality bee products because there are abundant plant species that produce nectar and pollen for honeybee. The main bee products in Tanzania are honey and beeswax. Apart from honey and beeswax other honeybee products are bee bread, bee milk, bee venom, Bees wax, propolis and pollen
According to the National Beekeeping Policy of March 1998 and National Beekeeping Programme of November 2001 Tanzania produces about 4,860 tons of honey and about 324 tons of beeswax per year. On average the country exports 500 tons of honey and 282 tons of beeswax per year (FBD 2004). The main buyers of Tanzanian honey are Germany, United Kingdom, The Netherlands and Belgium. The main buyers of beeswax are Japan, The Netherlands, United States of America and German.
Despite of the big market for honey and beeswax, producers are less exposed to quality standards suitable for domestic or external market hence resulting in fetching low prices.
Honey is defined as sweet substance produced by the honeybees from the nectar of blossoms or from secretions of living parts of plants, or secretions of plant sucking insects on the living parts of the plants, which the honeybees collect, transform and combine with specific substances of their own, deposit, remove water, store and leave to ripen and mature in honey combs.
3.0 COMPOSITION OF HONEY
Honey is composed primarily of sugars and water. On average honey contains about 79.6% sugar and 17.2% water. The primary sugars are fructose (38.2%) and glucose (31.3%). These are simple sugars that are readily absorbed by the body. Other sugars include maltose (7.3%) and sucrose (1.3%). Honey also contains acids (0.57%), some proteins (0.26%), a small amount of minerals (0.17%) and number of other minor components including pigments.
4.0 CHARACTERISTICS OF HONEY
Honey has the following characteristic that makes it the most for several uses:
a) Antibacterial properties
b) Hygroscopic properties of honey
c) Viscosity of honey
d) Formation of Hydroxyl – Methyl – Furfural ( HMF)
e) Aroma and flavour substances
h) Moisture content
i) Mineral content
j) Diastase content
k) Water insoluble solid
Beeswax is a natural animal wax produced by various species of honeybees. The wax is secreted by four pairs of glands located on the ventral side of the abdomen of worker bees. They use it to form cells and capping for the purpose of storing new honey.
6.0 COMPOSITION OF BEESWAX
Beeswax is mainly composed of a mixture of about 70% esters (largely myrical palmitate), 15% ceric acids, 12% hydrocarbons, with traces of water, higher alcohols, minerals and dyes.
7.0 CHARACTERISTICS OF BEESWAX
Beeswax contains the following characteristics;
a) Specific gravity
b) Melting point
c) Acid number
d) Saponification value
e) Iodine value