Sweet Spot – African Development Bank Supports Zambian Honey Exports to South Africa

Zambezi Gold Honey has been selling its table honey on the South African market for the last three years. The company’s breakthrough into the export market, partially thanks to the Trade and Institutional Capacity Building in the Apiculture Sector (TICBAS) project supported by the African Development Bank.

The project, implemented by SNV Zambia, received funding of $428,000 between 2015 and 2017. In Zambia, it enabled sanitary and phytosanitary standardsfor the beekeeping sector and provided training for participants in the value chain. According to the Bank’s Project Completion Report published on 11 November 2020, the TICBAS project achieved its objective after supporting a surveillance system to identify risks and implement corrective measures.

In practice, veterinary assistants and district veterinary officers were trained in six districts in the North West Province of Zambia on various surveillance protocols during the project’s implementation phase to support beekeepers. These were: identifying organisms that are harmful to bees, bee diseases, data collection tools for active and passive surveillance, and the use of the database and surveillance system for harmful organisms.

The TICBAS project also improved knowledge about the sanitary and phytosanitary aspects of beekeeping and common risks. Moreover, the project implemented a robust mechanism to strengthen the coordination between the various ministries, departments and organizations. A total of 1,371 participants, 33% of whom were women, with 1,300 producers, 21 employees of processors and traders, 35 experienced beekeepers and 15 officials, were trained.

“The aim was to train people and to start exploring the commercial opportunities for table honey. This objective was achieved with at least one business, Zambezi Gold Honey, actually exporting table honey to the South African market for the first time through the Checkers national retail chain. Several other companies are in the process of exploring the export market for table honey, including one that is targeting the Chinese market,” the report, jointly prepared by the Bank and SNV, states.

It notes further that as a result of the project, government outreach services – including district veterinary officers – now use surveillance systems and training that ensure the lessons learned are maintained at every stage of the value chain.

The scheme also boosted learning for beekeepers, who often have little formal education, by distributing visual aids, including brochures in local languages and a radio and television documentary. Finally, the Zambia Honey Partnership Platform (ZHP-P) has brought together the major players in beekeeping and focuses on sustainable productivity and growth.

“When the project started, 90% professed to not know about sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) standards requirements in beekeeping at all. This figure had fallen to 8% by the end. It is expected that jobs and income will increase as the export market for higher added-value table honey opens up,” the report projects.

The Bank has supported similar projects to develop the value chain for honey and increase production in Guinea and Rwanda through the Africa Trade Fund (AfTRA), established by the African Development Bank in March 2012, with seed financing from the Government of Canada. AfTra is a trade-related, multi-million dollar technical assistance facility with the objective of accelerating the integration of Regional Member Countries and Economic Communities in regional and global trading systems.


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