The Zambian High Commission in Pretoria, South Africa has expressed disappointment over a fresh ban imposed on the 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.
He said that this is because a consignment allegedly from Zambia was found to be contaminated with a disease called American Foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae).
This was contained in a statement issued to ZANIS, by first secretary for press and public relations Naomi Nyawali.Mr. Mwamba has stated that the ban was done outside procedures and trade regulations.
He said the procedure to impose the ban were breached and no official letter has been written to competent authorities in Zambia as required by trade protocols.
He also stated that no official results of the analysis and copy of import airway bill were provided for Zambia to authenticate and verify the source of such a consignment.
He said it was difficult to establish whether the matter was a misconduct of traders who sometimes mix various imports of honey products from other countries.
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 are done between experts from both countries.
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.
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from Zambia should be subjected to irradiation and all imports permits allowing pure honey from Zambia have since been withdrawn.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 stated that 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 is now booming which went in a long way to reduce trade deficit and trade imbalance between the two countries.
Mr. Mwamba who said the recent development negated such positive strides further, 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.