Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry Permanent Secretary Kayula Siame says government is currently in talks with South African authorities to restart exporting honey to that country following an export ban on the commodity.

South Africa had imposed a ban on the export of organic honey from Zambia after a consignment of the commodity was allegedly found with American foulbrood disease also known as Peanibacillus larvae.

Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba protested the ban in the immediate aftermath, saying it was done outside procedure and was against trade regulations.

But in an interview, Kayula said that government had examined the commodity, sent samples to South Africa and was currently waiting for that country to respond.

“We have examined the honey that was said to be contaminated. It was sent to laboratories and it was carefully examined. We have the results, which I cannot tell you right now. We have communicated with our exporters on the results,” Siame told News Diggers! in an interview in Lusaka.

“And right now, we are in constant touch with our South African counterparts to see what they will have to say about the findings that we sent to them. What I can tell you is that everything that we needed to do to ensure that we restart the export of honey to that country, we have done it. We have done our research, we have done our homework. And we have sent the results to that country (South Africa), and we are waiting for them to say what they have to say about what we have found here in Zambia. That is the only thing stopping (Zambia) right now from exporting honey to South Africa. Hopefully, they will look at the results quickly and say whatever they have to say about it. We are keeping our fingers crossed and we hope that we will soon start exporting honey to that country again. That’s all I have to say.”