It was a celebration of joy for all bee enthusiasts and serious minded stakeholders in beekeeping industry during the recent “WALK FOR BEE” program to mark this year’s World Honey Bee Day celebrated in Abuja and other States of the Federation including Cross Rivers, Abia, Oyo and Lagos on Friday 18 August, 2017.
The event was witnessed by notable beekeepers and passionate personalities both in government and organized private sectors especially the MDAs having mandate on beekeeping and the public.
The event was organized by the Centre for Bee Research & Development (CEBRAD) in collaboration with Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment, Federal Ministry of Science & Technology and Raw Materials Research Development Council.
The World Honey Bee Day, was previously known as Honey Bee Awareness Day; an initiative of beekeepers in the USA who petitioned the government in 2009 for an official day to honor the golden insect and create awareness about beekeeping to the public.
The “WALK FOR BEE” program in Abuja; the first of its kind in Nigeria; involved awareness trekking from Eagle Square to Unity Fountain where stakeholders addressed the crowd on different themes related to their organizations.
In his opening remark, Bidemi Ojeleye, the Founder/Director, Centre for Bee Research & Development (CEBRAD) and National President, Federation of Beekeepers Association of Nigeria (FEBKAN) explained the importance of the event on the beekeeping activities in Nigeria especially to the public most of who’re ignorant of the benefits of this important insect.
Ojeleye remarked that “like all other aspects of agricultural endeavors, beekeeping is not only a noble, economically rewarding vocation, practiced by peasant farmers and nobility alike, but it is also a very serious economic pursuit undertaken all over the world. It is therefore, an important aspect of modern agribusiness any developing economy would ignore at great risk to its general well-being”.
He said apart from the fact that 85% of the foods consumed are pollinated by the bees; the insect also generate income for different segment of the society without destruction to the habitat and through varied usage its complete value chains as sources of industrial raw materials. He described all bee products, honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom, to be money spinning that can propel the Nigeria ailing economy.
The CEBRAD director said Nigeria was blessed with clean and green environment that can support production of organic honey which globally can be ranked best amongst its contemporaries in the world. He said beekeeping can be practiced as sideline assignment or in commercial value by both young and old of all sexes.
Ojeleye stated that “for any beekeeping venture to be profitable nowadays, the beekeeper must be ready to exhibit high dexterity and be prepared to learn at all times. Even traditional beekeeping and honey hunting need technical expertise in order not to kill the bees. It should not be forgotten that bees killed this year in the course of hunting for honey couldn’t produce honey for the hunters against next season”.
Commenting on why Nigeria is not yet exporting honey officially to other countries with the overblown statement on enough honey production, like Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and the other African countries, Ojeleye said that our production is not yet enough for local consumption but with interventions from various organizations; the production level will double as government now sells beekeeping equipment to beekeepers at highly subsidized prices. He remarked that with all these in place, Nigerian honey may be exported as from next year because we are also working assiduously towards being listed among the EU third country honey exporting countries.
He concluded his speech by thanking all involved in making the program successful and also commended the efforts of participating MDAs for their sense of belonging, passions and undaunted interest in the total promotion of hive products and its value chains. He said “the organizers thanked you all for your participation and perseverance but will like to mention few people like Drs. Dooshima Kwange and Chinyere Akujobi of Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development, Dr. Akeem Oyerinde and Prince Lawal Adebowale of University of Abuja, Dr. Theresa Oma-Arachong and Mr. Sunday Onjewu of Raw Materials Research & Development Council, Jofram Honey and A&Shine Honey for their donations”.
In his contribution, Mr. Ademola Adesina, Chairman of Nigeria Apiculture Platform (NAP) congratulated Nigerian beekeepers for a highly encouraging outing for the first edition of World Honey bee Day.
Adesina mused down the memory lane by informing the gathering that in 2014, the European Union (EU) had flagged off a project in Kenya under the African Union Intra Bureau for Animal Research (AU-IBAR) where selected stakeholders had gathered to discuss this animal because of its importance to mankind and to put a framework in place to protect them.
This continental assembly according to Adesina later called African Apiculture Platform (AAP) where Nigeria representative was elected the first chairman. He further explained that the team had met in various African countries and that Nigeria will host the team come 2018 at the same when Nigeria will be hosting the largest apiculture exposition in Africa tagged ApiExpo Africa 2018.
Adesina said that ApiExpo Africa 2018 was put together by Apitrade Africa, Uganda and sponsored by Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in collaboration with NAP. He submitted that attending Apimondia congress in September, 2017 will put Nigeria in the world map of honey producing nations.
He therefore called on all stakeholders to come together to make ApiExpo Africa 2018 scheduled to hold in Abuja with the theme – “Beekeeping Industry for Sustainable Development, Wealth Creation and Economic Diversification”, a big success. In conclusion, Adesina said “we can move the industry to the greatest height if we work together like bee colony”.
Dr. Akeem Oyerinde, a Senior Lecturer at the University of Abuja in the department of Crop Protection and a bee enthusiast, called for improvement in the beekeeping value addition and actionable research works on the insect.
He said with this in place, Nigeria is poised to be a force to be reckoned with in hive products throughout the world. In conclusion, Oyerinde called for government intervention in making bee research a priority for future development of the sector.
Mr. Seun Johnson, who represented the organized beekeeping private sector, remarked that sky is the beginning for beekeepers in Nigeria as there are various industries that now utilized bee products. Johnson called on all and sundry to see beekeeping as a vocation that can turn the country’s economy around for good and advised to back ApiExpo Africa 2018.
In conclusion, Prince Adebowale Lawal advised youths to embrace beekeeping to bridge the existing gaps of unemployment as there are no enough jobs now for our young graduates. He posited that beekeeping doesn’t involve huge investment and equally be done as a sideline business.
…bee for food security and nutrition
The World Honey Bee Day recently celebrated in Nigeria recorded full participation of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development (FMARD) with the sub-theme “bee for food security and nutrition”
In the address presented at the occasion, the Director, Department of Veterinary & Pest Control Services, Dr. Gideon Mshelbwala ably represented by Dr. Dooshima Kwange, a Deputy Director in the department; said about 80% of all Africans depend directly or indirectly on agriculture for their livelihoods and that agriculture provides 70% of Africa’s full time employment, one third of total GDP, and 40% of total export earnings.
Mshelbwala stated that agriculture is therefore crucial for reducing hunger and poverty across the continent and agricultural growth is achievable through the increase of agricultural productivity. The crucial role of bees as plant pollinators in the world is well known.
He posited that “It is estimated that honeybees could contribute to increasing agricultural productivity and food security by more than a third through pollination. Pollination services conducted by bees does not only provide for improved fruiting of fruit trees for example, but increases yields and provides for superior quality of such fruits. Insect pollinators significantly increase quantity and quality of crop yield”.
Citing the current situation in the country, Mshelbwala was of the opinion that with fallen oil prices, an import driven economy and insecurity, there is a huge deficit of food required to feed the populace. Nigeria currently produces about 15,000 metric tons of honey and 2,500 metric tons of beeswax annually less than 3% of her potential of 800,000 and 70,000 metric tons respectively. He said “Nigeria has resources that if assiduously harnessed can scale up food production for internal consumption, improved livelihoods and export for foreign exchange earnings”.
Some participants at the event
He stated further that “in line with the present administration’s vision on the need to diversify the country’s economy in the light of the current dwindling oil economy, all eyes are on agriculture. Consequently, the Honorable Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and that Chief Audu Ogbeh has launched the Agricultural Promotion Policy (2016 – 2020) which is addressing the various sub-sectors of agriculture”. For a change; the apiculture sector in Nigeria is receiving a lot of attention from the Government in a bid:
- To increase National honey production.
- To increase pollination activity for more cash crop yield.
- To increase participation of youth and women in beekeeping as a business along its value chain especially in the rural areas.
- To introduce best technological practices/standards in beekeeping & honey production for increased income and foreign exchange earnings.
Other areas of government intervention enumerated by Mshelbwala included:
- Training of beekeepers and crop farmers in conjunction with other organizations
- Provision of hives and livestock, hive tools and PPEs
- A draft policy document has been prepared
- The process of setting up a National Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP) in collaboration with Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the private sector for the EU 3rd Country Listing and
- Support to the private sector to host the ApiExpo Africa 2018 in Abuja with the theme – “Beekeeping Industry for Sustainable Development, Wealth Creation and Economic Diversification”.
Mshelbwala buoyed the interest of stakeholders that “streamlining of the beekeeping activities through development of policies, regulations and guidelines will boost the industry, create wealth for the rural populace especially women and youth, diversify the economic base and fight food insecurity”. “To achieve food security for our people and improved nutrition for the young and elderly while creating jobs for the teeming youth, the FMARD is soliciting collaboration among all stakeholders” he concluded.
…bee for economic diversification
The Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) served as backbone for the recently celebrated World Honey Bee Day with full recognition, encouragement and enthusiasm that honey bee can contribute to economic diversification of Nigerian economy.
The ministry’s Director of Commodities and Products Inspectorate department; Mrs. Omololu Opeewe ably represented by Mr. Sunday Jaja an Assistant Director in the department; Nigeria needed to put more efforts on beekeeping to add more to incomes from apibusiness.
He concluded by advising all to key into the trade as it has varied value chains.
…bee for bio-resources and technology
In pursuit of its mandate, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology added glamour to this year’s World Honey Bee Day with an encouraging comment that bees can be used scientifically for bio-resources and also to promote technology.
According to Mr. Layi Agoro, a Deputy Director in the ministry; who said that the ministry has a lot of windows of opportunities to tap through collaborative efforts with stakeholders in the area of using bee for technology advancement. He therefore advised stakeholders to utilize the opportunity in the interest of nation building.
…bee for industrial raw materials development
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Theresa Oma-Arachong, Deputy Director and Chairman, RMRDC Strategic Beekeeping Committee, Raw Materials Research and Development Council, stated that “the development of a country has been associated with many factors, but generally it encompasses economic growth through higher productivity; in this regard, bees fit in perfectly”.
Apiculture, according to Oma-Aranchong is a goldmine with a huge revenue earning capacity. She said “the beekeeping industry when fully developed can create thousands of jobs, especially in the rural areas where there is high level of unemployment. It can also alleviate poverty, reduce hunger and churn out dozens of new products and services in line with government desire to diversify the non-traditional agricultural sector”.
Oma-Arachong said “most people seem to think that honey is the only valuable product from bees, whereas, beeswax and other hive products are vital to our industries and to us in more ways than we know. The market for bee products range from cosmetics, medicine, confectioneries, and the pharmaceutical industries, to other uses by religious groups”.
She said Nigerians are yet to recognize the huge potential of beekeeping, which perhaps, explains why there has not been significant investment in apiculture to allow that segment of the real sector blossom. She queried further that “despite the increasing demand for honey and other bee products, such as beeswax (for making cosmetics, antiseptics, furniture, shoe polish, etc.), bee cake, bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis, and bee bread, among others, we still do not fully understand the opportunities we have to make money; our local beekeepers being unable to meet the demand for original, pure honey and other bee products”.
Oma-Arachong explained to the gathering that Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) is currently driving its activities on beekeeping through one of its Strategic Project Committees, i.e. “Committee on Developing the Nigerian Beekeeping Industry for Honey and Other Hive Products for the Food and Pharmaceutical Industries.”
According to her, “the project seeks to contribute to the Council’s mandate particularly through its quest for the establishment of honey/other beehives products bulk collection and processing Centres, to enhance the availability of bee resources as raw materials for industries in the country. This is desirable to the Council in a bid to achieve its objective to increase local production and sourcing of primary raw materials (in this case, honey) and secondary raw materials (beeswax, propolis, royal jelly, pollen, bee venom, bee brood, queen bee, nucleus hives, packaged bees, etc.)”.
Oma-Aranchong concluded that “indeed, beekeeping as an economically rewarding vocation can boost production of raw materials for industries”.
The World Honey Bee Day was not only celebrated in Abuja but in some other States of the country. It was all fun and with seriousness for the participating States. Here we bring reports from States.
Oyo College of Agric Joins the World to Mark World Honey Bee Day, As Experts Call On Nigerians to Protect the Environment.
Bee lovers in collaboration with Forestry Department, Faculty of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Oyo State College of Agriculture and Technology (OYSCATECH), Igboora joined the rest of the world to mark this year’s World Honey Bee Day with the theme “WALK FOR BEE” on 18 August, 2017 at the College premises. The celebration involving students, lecturers and community members included marched out to walk for bee.
A beekeeping expert and a lecturer from the faculty, Mr. Adeyemo Yusuf called on Nigerians to value the contributions of bees to the society and stop killing the golden insect. He posited that bees could help the nation in the diversification of its economy.
Adeyemo also revealed that millions Naira could be realized from hive products in the College if the College could assist the faculty to overcome the security challenge and theft of hives. He explained further that bee should not be seen as enemies rather as friends of all.
In his address at the exhibition mounted for the event and talk show held at OYSCATECH, Dr. Ariyo Okunlola gave reasons why the whole world is walking for bee, as he explained that bees provide highly healthy and nutritious food, safe medicine (apitherapy) and raw materials for industries, such as honey in food processing or beeswax in batik and candle making to mention but few.
Okunlola maintained that bees are under-appreciated workers that pollinate 80% of flowering crops which constitute one-third of everything that we eat. He went further that the loss of bees can threaten the beef and airy industries. “Bush burning and vandalism are major threats to honeybees in Nigeria in particular and Africa in general”, Okunlola posited.
OYSCATECH walk for bee started from the Faculty of Plant and Environmental Sciences to various departments and the management of the college.
Receiving the bee lovers on behalf of the Provost, the College Registrar, Mr. Niyi Fehintola pledged the support of the management to sustainable beekeeping management activities in the College.
The exhibition and talk show also featured apitherapy, sales of honey and beeswax.
Report filed by Adeyemo Yusuf
It was a memorable day for beekeepers in Lagos when the commercial town went agog with walk for bee rally to sensitize members of the public on the importance of bee in our society.
The rally started from Shoprite, Alausa, Ikeja to Lagos State Ministry of Agriculture where the trio of Special Adviser to the Governor on Agriculture, Director of Veterinary Services and Director of Planning, Research & Statistics received the mammoth crowd.
After brief addresses by government officials, the train of bee lovers then moved to Lagos State Television Station for press briefing. “No doubt, it was an interesting World Honey Bee Day celebration” commented by Pastor Elijah, the SW Coordinator of Nigerian Modern Beekeepers Association (NMBA).
Cross River State
The World Honey Bee Day was also celebrated in Calabar, the State capital of Cross River State where bee enthusiasts thronged out to walk for bee.
The celebration involved symposium on the benefits of bee in our society where series of papers were presented.
Abia State was not left out in the World Honey Bee Day where bee lovers walked for bee and created public awareness about the golden insect.
According to Mr. Kingsley Nwaogu, the occasion was well attended and received the blessing of the government and people of Abia State.