The demand for Zambian honey in foreign markets such as China is on the rise, the country's investment agency said on Friday.
Perry Mapani, Director-General of the Zambia Development Agency (ZDA), said the number of Chinese importers looking for honey from Zambia is on the rise.
In a statement released by the investment agency, the official said that the increased demand has forced the agency, working with the Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry and the International Trade Center to embark on programs aimed at growing the sector and creating efficiency in the production and supply of honey.
"As an agency, we are working in line with the Seventh National Development Plan to diversify the economy. The honey sub-sector is among the other priority areas which have been pointed out by government to drive the diversification agenda," he said.
The agency, he said, was also working with other sector players such as the financing institutions to provide finance for the entrepreneurs in the honey sector in order to boost their capacity both for the local and international market.
According to him, the opportunities for bee-keeping and agriculture in general in Zambia are immense due to the favorable climatic conditions.
Last October, Zambia officially launched the export of honey to China.
The export of organic honey followed the signing of an export protocol by Zambia and China on the sidelines of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Summit.
Currently, Zambia's annual honey production is about 2, 500 tonnes and the southern African nation exports 1,000 tonnes to the European and African markets, leaving a surplus of 1,500 tonnes.