…Zambia protests the ban
By JOHN SAKALA
The Zambian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa has protested the fresh ban imposed on export of Zambian honey to South Africa.
In a letter written to South African authorities, Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa, Emmanuel Mwamba stated that he had learnt with regret that South Africa has restricted market access for Zambia’s pure honey with immediate effect.
Mr Mwamba said this was after an allegation that a consignment from Zambia was found to be contaminated with a disease called American Foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae).
He complained that the ban was done outside procedures and trade regulations.
“The procedures to impose the ban were breached and no official letter has been written to competent authorities in Zambia as required by trade protocols. We have no official results of the analysis and copy of import airway bill was provided for Zambia to authenticate and verify the source of such a consignment.
“It was difficult to establish whether the matter was a misconduct of traders who sometimes mix various imports of honey products from other countries,” he said.
Mr Mwamba has urged the authorities in South Africa to immediately reverse the ban on importation of pure honey until the laid down procedures and verification were done between experts from both countries.
He said if Zambian honey was subjected to irradiation as being proposed, it would lose its treasured and intrinsic value which ranks it as pure, organic, and natural and a factor which gives it a choice presence on the market.
He said Zambia exports its pure honey to other markets such as the European Union where stringent regulations exist and if such a disease was detected it would not have had that market access to the EU.
South Africa has restricted market of Zambian pure honey.
In a letter written to South African importers of pure Zambian honey, the authorities stated that audit samples from a consignment from a farm called Musonda Chitalu and Forest Fruite, detected paenibacillus larvae (American Foulbrood).
The letter to South African importers states that to this effect, all consignments from Zambia should be subjected to irradiation and all imports permits allowing pure honey from Zambia have since been withdrawn.
But Mr Mwamba said during earlier effort to lift the ban on pure honey market access to South Africa, extensive work was done to demonstrate that Zambia did not have such a disease present in its honey.
He said the pure honey export trade to South Africa was now booming which went in a long way to reduce trade deficit and trade imbalance between the two countries.
He said the recent development negated such positive strides.
Mr Mwamba has called on the South African authorities at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in South Africa to engage with their counterparts from Zambia to urgently resolve this regrettable development.
This is according to a media statement made available to The Independent Observer by First Secretary for Press and Public Relations at the Zambian Embassy in South Africa Naomi Nyawali.