by Robert Brow (www.brow.on.ca) Kingston, Ontario January 2008

Dan and Barbara Ball live in Lusaka, Zambia. They have taught 6,000 farmers to keep bees. By selling the honey they produce, what were destitute farmers have doubled their income. Many of them have been able to build new homes and the countryside now shows the signs of a
new prosperity.

The Balls have trained 35 paid employees who ride motor bikes to go round and collect the honey. The farmers don't feel demeaned. There is no hand-out. "You have honey to sell, and we pay for the work you have done."

Dan is the son of Harold and Pat Ball who served as evangelical missionaries in Zambia. From them Dan had grown to love Africa. He had a vision to meet the needs of the poorest people in the area. So he began in a very small way. He learned to keep bees and taught the skill to a few farmers. He paid them in cash, and soon others wanted to learn how to increase their income.

The hard part was finding international markets for the honey. There were very complex business arrangements. Dan and Barbara have had two very lean years due to currency fluctuations. But now they have taught their employees to bottle and package the honey, which greatly increases the cash flow. There is a rapidly growing middle class in Zambia and the surrounding countries. As a result there is a huge demand for the honey that the farmers can produce. And all this has been done without fuss or fanfare, or money from overseas, and the people of Zambia know that it is their own hard work that has made it possible.

The bottled honey is sold under the brand name - ZAMBESI GOLD. So if you see this in the stores, you will know where it came from.

Robert Brow

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