North Western Bee Products (NWBP) is a producer-owned company buying honey and
beeswax from about 10,000 traditional bark hive beekeepers in Zambia. The Zambian
Government started this project in 1979 supported by funding from the German
Technical Development Agency (GTZ). It can be considered a success story in that
it continues to deliver an increasing level of services to the producers and
continues to meet the objectives of the original funding agency thirty years after
they pulled out. A main objective was simply to increase the income of the rural
NWBP exports most of its honey to Tropical Forest Products in the UK, the honey
is sold in jars in supermarkets and other shops throughout the UK and the EU. We also supply cosmetic manufacturers in the UK, EU and USA. NWBP supplies more than half of the African honey exported to
the EU at prices 50% above the average price paid for other imported honey.
To establish this successful export trade, and meet the exacting quality
standards of the various customers, it was necessary to make sure that all honey
produced by the beekeepers was of the right standard. Most honey produced by
other bark hive beekeepers would not be acceptable to our markets, this article
explains how we have trained the beekeepers and set up quality control systems
to ensure that we only buy honey of the correct quality.