GOVERNMENT should consider putting in place policies that will protect the honey sector from being exploited in such a manner that it will fail to benefit bee-keepers, says Zambia Honey Council (ZHC) chairperson Samuel Banda.
Mr Banda said there was need for Government to protect the honey sector by ensuring that farmers were not exploited so that they fully benefitted from the donor funds.
Speaking during the ZHC annual general meeting, Mr Banda noted that the sector had continued recording massive growth, hence the need for Government through line ministries to protect the sector.
“The Government should cushion bee-keepers from exploitation by buyers and other players in the market,” he said
Mr Banda made this appeal when he responded to farmers who wanted to know why they did not fully benefit from the US$ 2.5 million project that was being implemented by SNV, the Dutch non-governmental organisation.
The US$ 2.5 million project was aimed at training bee-keepers in modern honey production techniques which he said if properly implemented would result in improved honey production and marketing.
He also said the trade investment project for enhanced competitiveness of the Zambia apiculture sector would increase the production of bee products and improve both food security and environmental sustainability.
And speaking on behalf of other bee-keepers, Mumbwa District Honey Association chairperson Patrick Simuchembu said the Government should take keen interest and carefully follow the implementation of such projects as they aimed at improving the livelihoods of the rural communities.
“In Mumbwa we only benefited a bulking centre and it is only being used by three groups. We do not understand why things are like this on the ground, and we do not know the criterion used in choosing who is eligible to use this facility,” he said.
Mr Simuchembu disclosed that most bee-keepers did not receive the equipment, adding that the move had negatively affected bee production.
“Most of the bee-keepers did not receive the equipment; initially we were supposed to receive bee hives, smokers, buckets and honey pressers,” he said.