HARARE, May 13– Preparations are on course for Zimbabwe to host the 4th biennial Apiculture Africa Expo here in October for which at least 3,000 delegates have so far confirmed their participation, says a beekeepers association official.

Beekeepers Association of Zimbabwe (BKAZ) National Co-ordinator Mutandwa Chaipa said here Monday the expo would held under the theme “Beekeeping for economic empowerment in Africa”.

Zimbabwe won the bid to host the event during the 2012 expo in Ethiopia after staving off stiff competition from five other African countries.

“More than 3,000 delegates comprising exhibitors of bee products and technologies, researchers, policy makers, honey trade support networks and development partners are expected to attend the expo,” Chaipa said.

The expo is being organized by ApiTrade Africa, a regional not-for-profit organization which champions the promotion of African honey and other bee products internationally, together with the BKAZ and the government of Zimbabwe

The expo showcases Africa’s honey industry by creating awareness on market opportunities, business opportunities and demonstrating the relationship between beekeeping and other industries. Participants to the 2014 expo are expected to come from Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Mozambique, Malawi, Egypt, Zambia, Burundi, South Africa and Cameroon.

Other countries include Sudan, Morocco, Madagascar, Somalia, Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Botswana, Zimbabwe, Angola, Middle East, Europe and the United States.

Manufacturers of beekeeping equipment from Germany, Poland and Italy are expected to exhibit at the expo, which will be the second largest international event that Zimbabwe has hosted following after the United Nations World Travel Organization general assembly last year.

Zimbabwe has an estimated 50,000 small-scale honey farmers, 80 per cent of whom are still using the old traditional methods of making bee hives from tree bark.