NOMSA NKANA, Lusaka
HONEY production is under threat following the expiry of the Trade and Investment Project for Enhanced Competitiveness in Zambia’s Apiculture Sector (TIPEC-ZAS), which supported bee-keepers.
TIPEC-ZAS, which was undertaken by Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry, was aimed at enhancing sustainable entrepreneurship in Zambia’s apiculture sector through increased honey production and productivity, improved market access and improved quality and standards.
According to a latest report by MCTI, the ministry recently visited three bee -keeping associations that were beneficiaries of TIPEC-ZAS to assess progress made following the expiry of the project.
But Mubila Bee Keepers Association of Kapiri Mposhi, Mpongwe Beekeeping Enterprise and Chisanga Bee Keepers Association feel that with various challenges they are facing, the expiry of the project will have a negative impact on them.
Under the project, Mubila Bee Keepers Association said that the beehives given to each member were inadequate to harvest meaningful quantities of honey as some received two while others said they received five.
“The pressing machine acquired for the association by the TIPEC-ZAS to process the honey to liquid form was not compatible with the type of the beehives they were given, and hence [the machine] has not been in use,” the report notes.
The report also indicates that Chisanga Bee Keepers Association experienced a decline in honey production as out of 52 beehives, only 10 attract bees, which has resulted in bee-keepers going back to traditional beehives.
This is because most of the modern ones do not produce honey due to failure to attract bees.
For Mpongwe Bee Enterprise, the report observed that most of the bulking centres are not producing enough honey to meet the production demands of the sector.
The ministry has, therefore, recommended that bee-keepers be encouraged to reduce dependency on donors and also grow from where the project ended.
It also suggests that bee-keepers should consider making their own beehives to increase production.