BEE-KEEPERS in North-Western Province have no market for over 15 tonnes of honey and want Government to help them.
North-Western Beekeepers Association chairman Victor Muhanga said the association’s traditional buyers – Mpongwe and Kabompo honey companies – have not been able to procure all the produce from the growing number of apiculturists in the province.
Mr Muhanga said six tonnes of honey has been bought in Kapombo and Mufumbwe alone at a cost of K36,000.
There is an estimated 6,500 beekeepers in North-Western Province who depend on apiculture.
Mr Muhanga said in an interview from Kabompo on Tuesday that most honey growers were stuck with the honey as a result of lack of readily available market for the product.
He said some private buyers were coming to buy the honey which they later export.
“So far, we are currently dealing with local private buyers who are now providing markets for the honey stakeholders. At times when we have resources, we buy from our members for re-sale,” he said.
Mr Muhanga said the association, which provided a ready market for the produce, was unable to buy all the quantities from bee-keepers due to financial constraints.
And Mr Muhanga said the association is still waiting for a response from Citizens’ Economic Empowerment Commission for the requested loan of K273,000 to empower bee-keepers in the province.
“To date, we have not received any response from CEEC on our application for a loan amounting to K273,000,” he said.
Mr Muhanga said SNV Netherlands development organisation has come on board to ensure that all bee-keepers in the province are identified.
“We are marking all stations where there are bee-keepers in the province to ensure that everybody who is involved in honey production is known,” he said.
He said Government should support the industry as most people’s incomes come from the sector.
“One bucket of honey is equivalent to selling two bags by 50 kilogrammes of maize,” he said.
Zambia Daily Mail