Zambia develops honey export to diversify economy
As the second largest copper producer on the African continent, Zambia has been trying to expand exports beyond the metal while diversifying its economy and lifting thousands out of poverty, for instance, developing honey export.
Tons of raw honey used to be sold cheap or to brew alcohol in the country, but now it is processed to be unique products and then exported to the rest of the world, which has become a driving force for the country to fight against poverty.
Miit Pandoliker, owner of the Luano Honey, called this is a sticky but sweet business after realizing the opportunity to sell his country’s unique product to other countries.
“Every hive has a different flavor, every pound or kg of Zambian tree honey harvested tastes different, just depending on what the bees are eating in that forest area, what surrounds it, what flowers are grown and stuff like that. So it’s very unique in that sense, no honey around the world has that variation. Every packet, every pouch, ever jar you see won’t taste the same,” said Pandoliker.
Currently, the country’s honey production sitting at 2,000 tons per year is set to grow to over 10,000 tons because of increased exports, whose value has already jumped from 1.6 million U.S. dollars in 2015 to 3.1 million U.S. dollars in 2018.
“We have been known to be copper producers for centuries, now we want to diversify and go into other industries. Honey exports can be a key component in the growth of the economy and fight against poverty in Zambia through job and wealth creation,” said Jessica Chombo, acting director of Export Promotion agency.
More than 30,000 rural bee-keepers are expected to propel the industry – which has radically changed their way of life.
“It can really help people out there where there is nothing. Like where we are getting this honey, there is literally nothing, there’s just dense forest, a couple of mud huts, this and that. So that way we feel proud in a sense,” said Pandoliker.