Beekeeping As A Viable Economic Venture | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Beekeeping As A Viable Economic Venture

Posted: Mar 8, 2016 at 4:21 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

From all indications, the economic potential of beekeeping remains very promising, according to a NAN report by Victor Adeoti.

This, according to agriculturists, is because beekeeping is an important income-generating activity with high yields, particularly for communities adjacent to forests and woodlands.

They say that products of beekeeping, especially honey, are valuable agricultural commodities in the world market, with a growing patronage for dark honey, a special brand of honey produced in Nigeria, among other African countries.

Nevertheless, a pertinent question relates to how Nigeria can exploit the several benefits of beekeeping to generate considerable income.

Mr Bidemi Ojeleye, the Director of Centre for Bee Research and Development, at the recent Nigeria Beekeeping Conference in Osogbo, said that beekeeping was one of the economic ventures that could facilitate Nigeria’s efforts to diversify its economy.

He stressed that beekeeping also had the potential of boosting the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), as it could generate $7 billion as revenue within a few years.

“Many countries of the world are not endowed with natural resources like Nigeria and they depend largely on earnings from sectors like agriculture and tourism. These countries are able to survive economically in spite of the global economic meltdown.

“A good example of such countries is Ethiopia; a country whose revenue comes mainly from beekeeping activities.

“It is pertinent to note that the global honey business contributes over $200 billion to the global economy through crop pollination, production of honey, bee-wax and other beehive products.

“It is unfortunate that out of this figure, Africa gets less than 10 percent, while the potential of the beekeeping sector is quite huge.

“It is, therefore, worrisome that Nigeria has failed to exploit the potential of the beekeeping industry to generate food and employment; conserve the environment and diversify its exports,’’ he said.

Ojeleye, however, identified fragmented and ineffective beekeeping associations, weak value chain and technical capacity as well as lack of policy for bee production as some of the challenges facing the bee sector in Nigeria.

He urged the Federal Government to set up an inter-ministerial committee to work on Nigeria’s beekeeping policy so as to protect the beekeeping industry from going into extinction due to factors such invasion of pests and diseases.

“I want to appeal to the concerned arms of government to develop the `Beekeepers’ Bill of Rights’ in a bid to overcome the various challenges facing the beekeeping sector,’’ he said.

Sharing similar sentiments, Mr Femi Komolafe, the South-West National Coordinator, Federation of Beekeepers Association of Nigeria, said that government could diversify the nation’s economy by investing substantially in the beekeeping sector.

He said that if beekeeping was practised on a commercial scale in the country, it could generate revenue, reduce unemployment, create wealth, enhance food security, reduce poverty and supply raw materials to industries.

“We all know that for some years back, Nigeria has been solely dependent on crude oil as her major source of revenue.

“But the price of crude oil at world market has continuously been dwindling on a daily basis and this has led to the economic downturn of the country.

“In order to survive this trauma, we have to find novel ways of redeeming our economy by investing in the beekeeping sector.

“This is because Nigerian honey is globally acclaimed as one of the best brands of honey because of its high concentration of vitamins and minerals,’’ he added.

Also speaking, Dr Falore Laolu, an expert in beekeeping research, underscored the need for the government to encourage bee farmers to adopt modern beekeeping techniques.

He said that in spite of the potential of honey and allied bee products to expedite Nigeria’s economic and industrial growth as a major foreign exchange earner; beekeeping and local honey production in the country had not witnessed any meaningful growth.

“As we are aware, a number of domestic impediments are still holding the beekeeping sector down.

“For instance, the increasing demand for honey and other bee products such as wax for cosmetics and antiseptics notwithstanding, local beekeepers still find it difficult to meet the demand for original, pure honey and other products.

“There can be no meaningful development or commercialisation of these products in the short term, as several non-honey commodities remain largely untapped.

“I will implore the government to look critically at how the country can promote investments in non-honey commodities — their harvest and processing — as these commodities attract about 20 billion-dollar investments globally,’’ he said.

All in all, analysts urge government and individuals to embrace the beekeeping venture because of the several economic benefits derivable from it.