‘Beekeepers smuggling honey to export markets’

Zimbabwe is losing a lot of potential revenue through illegal exportation of honey to neighbouring countries, as most beekeepers continue to shun formal honey export procedures due to exorbitant levies charged by government, an industry official has said.

By NQOBANI NDLOVU

Zimbabwe Apiculture Platform secretary Welcome Bhila said beekeeping farmers were required to pay a lot of money in levies before exporting the product.

“The major challenge facing beekeepers is the documentation that is needed when one needs to export. For example, the Environmental Management Authority (EMA) and the Veterinary Services Department charge $500 each for issuance of honey exporting permits. Apart from these levies, there are other procedures that bee farmers should meet,” Bhila said.

He said before the honey exportation permit is issued, processing premises should meet certain food handling and safety standards.

“So, most of these beekeepers do short cuts. They just sneak their honey through the borders without the knowledge of authorities,” Bhila said.

He also lamented the high costs of honey moving permits.

“As you move the product (honey), like what you do with cattle, you need a permit as well to move honey. The permit is quite expensive,” he said.

He cited Zambia, Botswana and South Africa as some of the countries where the honey is illegally exported to.

Although Bhila could not give statistics on the amount of honey being illegally exported, he said the county was losing a lot of potential revenue through illegal exports.

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