Zimbabwe’s honey exports have dropped to zero for the past five years, an indication the country was missing potential foreign export earnings from the product, exports promotions body ZimTrade has said.
ZimTrade revealed that Zimbabwe’s exports of honey were nil, but the country could immensely benefit from exporting the “liquid gold,” should it be registered as an approved exporter of honey to the European Union (EU).
According to Trade Map, in 2014, the global natural honey industry was worth $2,2 billion with the EU being the biggest importer, spending over $700 million.
The body said for natural honey to gain access to the EU market, the producing country has to be on the approved list and fulfill certain requirements such as quality, packaging, traceability, health and safety.
In the SADC bloc, only four countries were on the Third World country list of approved exporters of honey to the EU, ZimTrade said.
According to the Beekeepers’ Association of Zimbabwe (Baz), most of the country’s honey was organic since the majority of local honey producers did not use antibiotics or other medicines for their bees.
“This, therefore, provides a competitive advantage and a base for lobbying to be included on the Third World country list of exporters,” ZimTrade said.
“With Zimbabwe recording no exports of honey for the past five years, the inclusion of the country on the EU approved list would go a long way in stimulating the sector.”
Baz executive director, Mutandwa Chaipa said they envisaged the listing to assist the honey industry in Zimbabwe to grow and make the majority of producers realise the full benefits of beekeeping.
Zimbabwe is a signatory to the interim Economic Partnership Agreement that confers duty-free quota free access to the EU market to qualifying products including locally-produced honey.
According to TradeMap, of all SADC countries, only Zambia, Tanzania, Madagascar and Mauritius are exporting to the EU.