Zambia has been given over US$2.8 million, equivalent to (KR15, 271,902), to improve her apiculture sector.
The funds were facilitated by the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Board in Geneva, Switzerland which approved US$2,828,130 TIER phase-two project under the Trade and Investment Project for Enhanced Competitiveness of Zambia’s Apiculture Sector (TIPEC-ZAS).
Outgoing Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Bob Sichinga said the Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), which is a main implementing entity and a lead donor that signed a memorandum of understand between EIF-Trust Fund manager and SNV, would implement the three-year TIPEC-ZAS project.
Mr. Sichinga disclosed this at a press briefing in Lusaka today.
He said the overall objective of the project was to enhance sustainable entrepreneurship in the honey industry through increased production and productivity and improved market access and standards.
ZANIS reports that 5,000 small scale bee-keeping farmers in Central, Copperbelt, Northern, North-western and Muchinga provinces would be trained and empowered so that bee products are increased from 4,000 to 7,000 metric tonnes annually.
The minister said this will help create more jobs thereby actualizing the Patriotic Front (PF) government’s policy of putting more money in people’s pockets.
Mr. Sichinga further said offices will be opened in all the 10 provincial centres to enable Zambian people benefit from services being offered by the Ministry of Commerce.
Mr. Sichinga said the Ministry of Commerce and the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) have been decentralised.
Meanwhile, Mr. Sichinga has encouraged the private sector to partner with government in opening up investment opportunities in all parts of the country.
He said the private sector can take advantage of the Multi-Facility Economic Zones (MFEZ) which government intends to open in all the ten provinces of Zambia.
He said provincial Permanent Secretaries have been tasked to secure 2,000 hectares of land for zones in the provinces and a minimal of 1,000 hectares for district clusters which are aimed at opening up Zambia for business purposes.
Mr. Sichinga said it was prudent not to import products that can easily be produced locally.
“Zambia doesn’t need to import products that we can produce locally. Therefore these economic zones are meant to open up the country because we are endowed with abundant natural resources,” he said.
He stated that the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), working with other stakeholders, would champion the district clusters so that value addition on local products is enhanced.
The minister said government was working towards linking Zambia to other countries in terms of trade.
He said Zambia and neighbouring Zimbabwe each export a paltry four per cent to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region while South Africa alone enjoys 72 percent of exports and Namibia sells eight per cent respectively.
Mr. Sichinga said government was therefore working hard to join the Intra-Africa trade centres that are established in other countries to enhance trade ties and improve quality and productivity on exported goods.