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, His Excellency Mr. Emmanuel Mwamba stated that he had learned with regret that South Africa has restricted market access for Zambia’s pure honey with immediate effect.
He said that this was because a consignment allegedly from Zambia was found to be contaminated with a disease called American Foulbrood (Paenibacillus larvae).
But 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 were done between experts from both countries.
He said if Zambian honey were 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from Zambia should be subjected to irradiation and all imports permits allowing pure honey from Zambia have since been withdrawn.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 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 was now booming which went in a long way to reduce the trade deficit and trade imbalance between the two countries.
He said the recent development negated such positive strides.
He 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 press statement issued by issued by Mrs Naomi Nyawali, First Secretary press and public relations at Zambia High Commission in South Africa.