Last Friday, beekeepers celebrated World Bee Day with a reflection on the many challenges facing potentials in the honey value chain in Nigeria.
Currently, a liter of honey in Nigeria sells for between 3,000 and 4,000 Naira, while a liter of gasoline (premium motor gasoline) sells for 165 Naira. Even if the subsidy is removed, it will not be valued at the current price of honey.
According to the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, the country consumes about 400,000 tonnes of honey per year, but produces less than 40,000 tonnes, or 10% of consumption.
Importing 360,000 metric tons of honey represents an import bill of over 838 billion naira, or about $2 billion per year.
In fact, the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) claims that the lack of adequate honey production in the country costs the economy more than $10 billion a year.
The NEPC noted that Nigeria was capable of generating at least $10 billion a year from trade in honey and other bee products if there was an improvement in quality compliance with safety standards. food and the achievement of the 3rd country list certification to facilitate market access.
Alhaji Idris Muhammad Barau, Project Manager of the Beekeeping Extension Society and First Vice President of the Federation of Beekeepers Associations of Nigeria, a founding member of the West African Beekeepers Network, said that despite the potential for industry, the government seemed to show little interest in beekeeping.
“The main problems faced by beekeepers are limited capital, hive vandalism, bush burning and insecurity. For capital, we seek subsidies and also use the natural raw materials available in hive constructions. But the remaining challenges are supposed to be checked by the government,” the Kaduna-based farmer said.
Alhaji Idris, who is an advanced beekeeping trainer for Bees Abroad UK Charity and holds an African Beekeeping Proficiency Certificate in West Africa, is extending modern beekeeping technology to local farmers.
“We also taught farmers how to use locally available materials, such as corn stalks, to make beehives. It helps get them going; and with the little harvest they make, they will gradually enter modern hives.
“Agricultural side extension agents, we engage them in training as volunteers who then extend the technology to their farmers. Thanks to this approach, we were able to have a network of more than 4,000 beekeepers,” he said.
The farmer has been in beekeeping and extension as a volunteer for over 20 years. He said that on average he produced about 800 liters while his network members produced an average of 12,000 to 15,000 liters.
“I have devoted my whole life to beekeeping. It started as a passion but grew into a business, trainer and consultant which led me to train beekeepers in Ghana, Cameroon, Liberia and Sudan except Nigeria,” he said. he declares.
He added that he does extra feed for his bees when the supply of nectar and pollen is low.
Another beekeeper from Ijebu Ode, Ogun State, Oreyemi Babatunde Adenola, who has been in the business for 21 years, also shared his experience.
“When my mother and her group started beekeeping in Ijebu Ode, only a very few people understood what was going on. In a village where I installed my apiary, the villagers thought that the hives were coffins for burying small children. However, it is a great joy to know that awareness is everywhere and people are asking how to start every day,” he said.
Mr Adenola, who is a member of Nigeria Beekeepers Network, and Gateway Apic Association, Ogun State, West Africa Beekeepers, said they have created a situation where many are getting into beekeeping.
The farmer said that the current problem that is rocking the foundations of beekeeping is the act of vandalism on apiaries. “In some areas, they harvest honey. In some they steal the hives with bees or empty hives, and finally in other apiaries they leave with the iron stand.
“We were able to identify these areas and encouraged farmers to move. We also target honey hunters for modern beekeeping training. If they understand the concept of modern beekeeping techniques, they can adopt it.
“We are also considering adopting the use of chains to protect the hive box/roof, as well as the stand. Therefore, it will not be easy with the chain to steal or open the hives,” he said.
Pastor Gideon Dagunduro, who heads the Anagada Farmers’ Cooperative in Abuja, told the Daily Trust on Sunday that honey production, like other agricultural ventures, is facing funding challenges, adding that the fact that ” most apiaries are attacked by the shepherds” makes the task even more difficult.
He also listed other challenges including outdated equipment, weak government involvement and lack of private partnership in beekeeping as is the case in other agricultural sub-sectors.