Zambia: Weaning from charcoal burners with honey Industry Welcome
THE loss of forests in Zambia, which is now leading to an increase in the frequency and intensity of adverse weather events such as droughts and floods, has become a national concern.
According to the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Zambia loses between 250,000 hectares and 300,000 hectares of forest per year.
The current rainy season is an example in which people are now seeing how deforestation has delayed the onset of the current rainy season which, if left unchecked, would negatively impact food security and cripple, yet another times, the country’s hydroelectricity. generation that relies on favorable rainfall.
The alarming loss of forests places Zambia among the countries in the world that lead in forest loss.
Therefore, it is good news to hear that the government will use the honey processing industry to encourage people to no longer depend on charcoal activities in various parts of the country for their livelihood.
Indeed, the burning of charcoal, which encourages the felling of trees, is one of the drivers of deforestation.
According to Green Economy and Environment Collins Nzovu, the government is eager to find ways to ensure that beekeeping and honey processing under the Department of Forestry is used to discourage people from burning charcoal.
The minister, who is on tour in Western Province, said that with sufficient self-reliance, such as training in beekeeping, charcoal makers can stop being economically dependent on burning charcoal and start pulling their income from honey processing.
Honey production is a lucrative business due to the favorable price at which the product sells in both the local and international market.
In areas like Lusaka, Ndola and Kitwe, a 2.5 liter container of honey sells for 250K, a price that attracts suppliers from remote areas like the North West Province.
Mpunde Wild Honey, a Chinese company located in Kabwe, earns millions of dollars in organic honey exports to China where the demand keeps growing.
This shows that with sufficient empowerment, honey production has the potential to significantly increase the income of local producers and also contribute to the preservation of forests.
Preserving local forests is one of the main goals of the New Dawn government which believes that in the near future jobs will come from a thriving green economy that can generate forest products like honey and timber.
These products have enormous economic potential.
This is the reason why President Hakainde Hichilema has formed the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment as part of the list of government ministries to protect the environment and also boost green jobs which will also fight against Deforestation.
Protecting the environment by not cutting down trees will also mean protecting economic sectors such as tourism, which is a multi-billion dollar industry supporting international travel; local, regional and global trade; as well as the production of hydroelectricity, essential to the Zambian economy.
By unlocking the green economy, Zambia will also unlock jobs in the production and processing of forest products like honey, timber, seasonal foodstuffs like wild fruits, edible insects and fungi that impact economies of local communities and the country as a whole.