The expiry of a mandate of the Trade and Investment Project for Enhanced Competitiveness (TIPEC-ZAS) has put Zambia’s honey production in jeopardy.
This according to the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI) which drives the initiative.
“There has been a decline in honey production since the mandate of TIPEC-ZAS expired,” read a report compiled by the ministry.
TIPEC-ZAS must enhance sustainable entrepreneurship in apiculture through increased production and access to markets.
According to the report, a number of beekeeping associations in Central, Copperbelt and North Western Provinces have since abandoned enhanced methods of production and reverted to traditional beehives.
The report also found that bulking centres are not producing enough honey to meet demand.
Zambia’s annual production, driven by an estimated 30 000 smallholder beekeepers, stands at 2 000 tonnes. Export earnings are more than US$2 million.
Industry experts estimate that the country has the potential to earn more than US$15 million annually by increasing production.
TIPEC-ZAS gave beekeepers access to modern techniques of honey production to meet the demand in the European Union, United States, South Africa and other countries where consumption is expected to remain high.
It is feared that the expiry of the project will set back the stringent quality control measures which made it possible for local honey producers to penetrate lucrative markets.