South Africa has banned the importation of honey from Zambia.

In a letter to South African honey importers, the agriculture department said American Foulbrood disease had been detected in samples from two locations in Zambia.

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.

Zambia’s High Commissioner to South Africa Emmanuel Mwamba told the BBC 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.”

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