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Monday, 17 May 2010

Zambia Gold Honey Project

A video highlighting the mission and foundation of the Zambia Gold Honey Project, a company started and run by Gonzaga University students to help farmers in rural North Western Province achieve more monetary autonomy and develop micro finance programs for the future. When I read about projects like this I just wonder why there not many such projects run by the diaspora.


  1. I'm looking into starting something similar, all things going well.

    Bee keeping is great, and can really enhance pollination of other cropse - especially fruit trees, so if anyone wants to start a fruit plantation, honey is an excellent by-product.

    Vanilla beans. Yield per acre is about 500 kilograms per year.

    Vanilla prices are $56.49 to $192.50 per lbs, which at 500 kgs/acre works out to $62 268.- per acre minimum.

    Teak tree plantations. These are long term investments (upto 20 years), but they are relatively low maintenance and very high in yield.

    Projections are for 100 planted trees and 20 harvested, and estimate a profit per tree of $11 000. Which would be a nice retirement sum. Or, imagine every time a child was born someone planted 10 teak tree saplings. It would be enough to get them through college 20 years from now.

    Using Joel Salatin's methods, forests (including teak plantations) can also be used to fatten pigs, given the plantation an extra stream of income while keeping the plantation healthy.

    Personally, I am looking into ginger. At a modest 6 tonnes per hectare and $2500 per tonne, that's $15,000 per hectare - more with bigger yields (highest projected at 35 tonnes per hectare).

    I was originally going to post this at the Mrs. Mwanawasa post. However, it is more in keeping with the bee topic.

    What are most needed I think (and which is shown in this bee keeping video) are sales channels, so farmers can get their products to market and get the best price.

  2. Chola: "When I read about projects like this I just wonder why there not many such projects run by the diaspora".

    I think part of this stems from the fact that Zambians in the diaspora are very loosely organised. If a community group does exist, most of the focus lies in social events and scarce little in the happenings back home. I don’t begrudge the social events since they serve as a meaningful connection in our communities abroad but more is needed.

    I know many of us are concerned about what happens back home and want to help, and this is evidenced by the remittances sent to our families. But it is past time we found the courage to embark on far reaching community based programs such as the one you highlighted above. If the students from a private Catholic university in the North West corner of the US can do it, we can too. And who better than those of us who speak the language(s), understand the culture, and have a vested interest in the success of our country?

    Yes, things can cumbersome and demoralising at times but with coordinated efforts change can happen – we just have to be willing to give it a go. If we keep procrastinating, we will continually be upstaged by others and should not be surprised when we are accused of turning our backs on those at home. Furthermore, it is also time we started supporting existing local efforts instead of the usual nay-saying to which we’re accustomed.

  3. MrK, you’re absolutely right about the need for sales channels. One just has to visit Soweto market to see how depressed produce prices can get, and how little a producer will actually get. It’s sometimes not even worth going to the market with your produce but few have other options.

    I am interested in canneries/food processing as means of providing sales channels for farmers. We import all manner of canned products – tomato sauce and paste, vegetable soups, canned fruit, etc. So, why not produce locally? It’s definitely not an inexpensive venture, but I’ll be doing my homework.


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