South Africa has banned the importation of honey from Zambia after authorities detected American Foulbrood disease from samples of the product.
The South African agriculture department announced the ban through a letter to honey importers.
American Foulbrood is a serious bacterial disease capable of killing a bee colony.
There is no cure – and it contaminates beekeeping equipment, so once detected that must be destroyed to prevent the disease spreading.
BBC news agency reports Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba to say that he would fight the ban.
“We export to other markets with stringent regulations such as the European Union, and if Zambia’s honey had such a disease, it would have been difficult for us to do so.
“We will pursue this matter through bilateral and diplomatic means and urgently to ensure that the ban is lifted as soon as possible.
“Our farmers have been benefiting from the export since 2015 when the earlier ban was lifted and this will hurt their income.”