The Zambia Honey Partnership (ZHP) is hosting the seventh Honey Sector Stakeholders

By Nawa Mutumweno – The main purpose of the forum is to provide a platform for stakeholders in the honey sector, including Government bodies, beekeepers/producers, processors, exporters, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and cooperating partners to review the performance, identify challenges, share new developments and initiate strategies for the industry.

Items on the Agenda include: Access of Funding; Cooperating Partners & the Honey Sector; Information sharing on current and new projects; Capacity Building Opportunities; Honey Export Procedures and Opportunities; and Domestic Honey Trade Opportunities.

This year’s event is being facilitated by SNV Zambia and is expected to be opened by the Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry, Robert Sichinga. Cordaid, another Dutch development agency, has also supported the Partnership in recent times, helping contribute to the development of the sector.

The bottlenecks to the growth of the industry at producer (supplier) and processor (buyer) levels have been identified as poor information management of the sector; insufficient access to business development services; low productive capacity and low levels of product competitiveness; prohibitive quality certification procedures and requirements; low domestic consumption of honey and bee products; and lack of policy and regulatory frameworks.

Following the launch of the Trade and Investment Project for Enhanced Competitiveness of Zambia’s Apiculture Sector (TIPEC-ZAS) last year, a number of positive developments have taken place in the sector, including training of 3 500 beekeepers through the Zambia Forestry College; 50 trainer of trainers (ToTs) trained in beekeeping who will in turn train an average of 10 others; 2 500 modern beehives distributed to beekeepers in the coverage areas; 3 000 harvesting equipment procured and distributed to beekeepers; and 2 700 protective clothing distributed to beekeepers.

The three-year project seeks to enhance sustainable entrepreneurship in the sector through increased production and productivity, improved market access and improved quality and standards, thus strengthening the competitiveness of the sector. The programme is managed by SNV and funded by the Enhanced Integrated Framework – National Implementation Unit (EIF-NIU) under the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry (MCTI).

Another initiative is the recently-established ‘Promoting Intra-regional Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa’ project which was launched in Lusaka on March 21, 2014 under the auspices of the Finnish Government and the International Trade Centre (ITC) to contribute to inclusive and sustainable export-led growth in Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia.

The project is adequately tailored to improve the competitiveness of these countries’ producers, processors and Trade Support Institutions (TSIs) in the apiculture sector for a period of three years.

For Zambia, the project will enhance honey exports through value addition and garner international interest from buyers, with the ultimate goal of increasing income and creating jobs for stakeholders along the entire export value chain.

Over the years, ZHP has scored a number of successes, among them: stakeholder dialogue and consultations; development of the Zambia Honey Council Quality Assurance Mark; strengthened linkages with the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA) export promotion initiatives; and with the Citizens Economic Empowerment Commission (CEEC) honey sector empowerment initiatives.

The Zambia Honey Partnership platform was established by public institutions, civil society organisations and the private sector actors involved in promoting sustainable social and economic growth of the honey sector in 2008. Its strategic objectives include, inter alia, increasing production and supply of quality honey; improving market access for and marketing of Zambian honey; strengthening research and research capacity for the industry; facilitating investments throughout the value chain; and mainstreaming environmentally and ecologically sustainable beekeeping practices.