A few days after my return from Zambia to the UK in September a colleague from Malawi sent a copy of the newspaper article shown below describing how South Africa had placed a ban on honey from Malawi and Zambia. It is believed that the reason was to reduce the risk of the spread of honey bees diseases – for example spores of the bacterium American foulbrood can be found in honey derived from infected colonies. The South African honey industry has suffered from an outbreaks of American foulbrood in recent years which might explain their caution. However, this raises questions. Surely the ban should work the other way around – there is a greater risk of disease spreading from South Africa to Zambia and Malawi than the reverse?
The good news is that this ban has now been lifted in the case of Zambian pure honey. Read more in this Lusaka Times article: ‘South Africa Grants Zambia Permit to Export Pure Honey into their Market’.
Janet Lowore is Bees for development‘s Learning and Knowledge Development Officer and co-author of Bfd’s ‘Beekeeping and Development Guide’ series of booklets. She travels widely in Africa promoting and developing Bfd’s projects and programmes and studying and encouraging methods of sustainable honey and beeswax production.