ITC helps sweeten Zambian honey exports
Honey processors in Zambia are set to see their products reach a new level of quality and their exports increase with the launch of a new project by the International Trade Centre (ITC).
The project, called ‘Promoting Intraregional Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa’, was launched in Lusaka on 21 March as part of an ITC-led effort aimed at building the capacity of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to help them meet international quality standards and meet market requirements for food safety, organic certification and traceability. The project is also targeted at equipping trade support institutions in agri-food value chains to provide improved services to SMEs at the regional and national levels.
The three-year project (2014–2016) is designed to promote Zambian honey exports through value addition and to garner international interest from buyers, with the ultimate goal of increasing income and creating jobs for stakeholders along the entire export value chain.
Speaking at the project launch, Yvonne Chileshe, Director of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and the focal point for the Enhanced Integrated Framework, said that the project is well-targeted because honey products have strong potential to increase regional trade and enhance economic growth.
Ms. Chileshe said that despite its enormous potential, the contribution of the apiculture sector has not lived up to expectations because honey processors are unable to export products to regional and international markets – mainly because of high costs of certification, inadequate packaging, low quality and supply-chain challenges.
As part of the project, processors will be trained in packaging, quality and supply-chain management to improve productivity and achieve food-safety certification, said Kofi Essuman, ITC Senior Adviser, Export Value Chain.
There will also be opportunities to conduct market research and support the marketing of the branded Zambian honey through improved communications. The project will provide the Zambia Bureau of Standards with package-testing equipment and it will strengthen the capacity of the Zambia Development Agency to offer trade intelligence to producers, processors and exporters in the honey sector.