Home Business Takeaways from 2018 ApiExpo Africa: Beyond the hives
Takeaways from 2018 ApiExpo Africa: Beyond the hives

Takeaways from 2018 ApiExpo Africa: Beyond the hives

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Abuja marks a special place in history, hosting the 6th edition of ApiExpo Africa, also helping to reflect on what has been achieved over the last decade as well as defining the future for apiculture in Africa.

The gathering of beekeepers, processors and stakeholders from over 30 countries at this year’s ApiExpo Africa tagged, “Beekeeping Industry for Wealth Creation, Economic Diversification and Sustainable Development,” in Abuja to harness the benefits inherent in it.

The expo was aimed at opening a new economic frontier because since the discovery of oil in Nigeria, agriculture that was an economic booster took the back seat, especially bee farming.

The event brought together farmers from key honey producing countries including Ethopia, Rwanda, and Greece who testified that through beekeeping they have raked in billions of dollars and they showcased their technologies, products and services at the event. Chinese nationals, known for manufacturing electronics were also at the event to market beekeeping technologies.

While declaring the event open, President Muhammadu Buhari, who was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, reiterated that Nigeria’s hosting of this edition of ApiExpo Africa will accelerate the development of the country’s apiculture sector.

According to him, “this national event, which I understand is a veritable platform for the convergence of apicultural thought leaders, international experts, farmers and processors in Africa and beyond for the promotion of improved and modern practices and technologies for bee farming/processing is envisaged.”

On his part, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh explained that beekeeping produces honey, beeswax, propolis, pollen (bee bread), royal jelly and bee venom for food, medicine and income.

Beekeeping, he noted, is also important for pollination and recreational activities.

He disclosed that, “value of the global business in apiculture is estimated at over $500 billion, comprising honey production, bee wax product and even the venom. But one of the greater services bee renders to the world is that of pollination.

“People rent bees across continents for pollination and return them at the end of the season. However, Africa plays about 10 per cent of the role this sector has brought to other parts of the world. Presently with the value chain of the oil industry in Nigeria, we are exploring the diversification of agriculture, which has been identified as a front line economic activity for agroally industry. The beekeeping subsector has been identified as a low hanging fruit as a major driver in the green revolution taking place in Nigeria at the moment. Most importantly, government recognises the role bees play in yielding crops,” he noted.
Guest speaker at the event, Prof. Mkabwa Manolo, listed some of their challenges which include the lack of skills. According to Manolo, “most farmers lack adequate skills on managing bees and handling hive products.
Also, inadequate training for both farmers and extension staff is also a challenge facing this sector; limited access to appropriate beekeeping equipment is among the challenges facing bee farming; even the underdevelopment of the marketing system of hive products both locally and internationally poses hiccups resulting to low quality and marketing organisations.
She stressed that, “even the lack of adequate and intense research on existing beekeeping technologies, equipment, honey bee and product utilisation are also challenging.
“While low prioritisation of beekeeping in relation to other enterprises in the wider agricultural sector has also been a problem because they get less funds from the government,” she added.
Speaking on the way out of these challenges, Ogbeh assured Nigerian farmers that “government will undertake greater support of the beekeeping industry. Government will provide materials, do more training and encourage more persons to get involved and ensure that only the high standards of production are applied as we seek to be part of this vibrant sector to the agriculture and food industry,” he maintained.
Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC), Dr. Dooshima Kwange, tasked Nigerians to key into the sector as one does not need any formal education and ensure standardisation.
She said, “we are also hoping that there will be standardisation in the Nigerian product so that we can enter the local, regional and international market. We also know beekeeping can be done by anybody; the young, old, men and women.”

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