By Nawa Mutumweno – The Zambia Honey Partnership (ZHP) is hosting the eighth Honey Sector Stakeholders Meeting scheduled for Hotel Edinburgh, Kitwe from April 28 – 29, 2015.
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: Updates from on-going projects; Honey Policy; The Way Forward on the sector’s Apex Organisation; Governance of the ZHP, and Opportunities for growth; Interaction between buyers and sellers (processors and beekeepers); and Financing to the sector.
Just like last year, this year’s event is again being sponsored by SNV Zambia, under the Trade and Investment Project for Enhanced Competitiveness of Zambia’s Apiculture Sector (TIPEC-ZAS). In the recent past, Cordaid, another Dutch development agency, has also supported the Partnership, 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 (BDS); 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.
New developments in the sector include the establishment of a continental Apiculture Platform, successes scored by the two big honey projects under the Ministry of Commerce Trade and Industry (MCTI), successes achieved through public private dialogue in addressing the NTBs affecting access to the South African honey market, made by private sector in penetrating the South African Market and setting up of a GIS data base as a means to address the lack of reliable data for the sector. These are among some of the notable developments in the sector.
Over the years, ZHP has scored a number of successes, among them: stakeholder dialogue and consultations which have seen increased engagement between government and private sector stakeholders in addressing specific challenges, among them NTBs being enforced by neighbouring countries which are a hindrance to market access; 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 main streaming environmentally and ecologically sustainable beekeeping practices.