Some bee keepers and farmers have said that beekeeping and pollination activities could improve agricultural yields by 90 per cent and contribute to food security in Nigeria.
The farmers, who gave the advice at a media engagement with Api-Exposition Africa 2018 Organising Committee in Abuja on Saturday, September 1, 2018 said that beekeeping could also provide employment opportunities for youths.
The media engagement was to avail journalists the opportunity to create awareness on the need for bee stakeholders to participate in the upcoming “ApiExpo 2018” slated for Abuja in September.
Mrs Obianuju Okpo, the National President, Women in Beekeeping, said that practicing and promoting bee-keeping was necessary to ensure food security and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in Nigeria.
She said that the world beekeeping trade value, according to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), stood at $450 billion (N162 trillion) annually, while the pollination services were valued at $250 billion (N90 trillion).
Okpo said that Ethiopia had a market share of 40,000 tonnes worth $255.3 million in the world annual production of bee products especially honey.
She noted that the economic, health benefits of bees and its derivatives were enormous, adding that herbs produced across the world contained about 45 per cent of bee-products.
“Cashew can increase its yields by 212 per cent due to bee pollination,’’ she said.
Mr Oluwaseun Johnson, the Leader, Mobilisation Team, said that pollinators such as bees, birds and bats affect 35 per cent of worlds’ crops production.
He noted that bees pollinate apples, almonds, oranges, avocados, pumpkin and cucumber by 90 per cent, saying that fruits will be non-existent without the bees.
Dr Dooshima Kwange, the Chairman of the ApiExpo Organising Committee, said that Nigeria would host the 6th Edition of the ApiExpo Africa.
Kwange said that ApiExpo was a continental exposition organised by ApiTrade Africa to bring together every allied industry around the global beekeeping industry.
She expressed optimism that the exposition would help bring together bee stakeholders across the world with a view to promoting the potentials of the sub-sector.
“This meeting is to acquaint the media with information about apiculture sub-sector and its potentials for wealth creation, economic diversification and sustainable development, to reach bee farmers and stakeholders in the rural areas,’’ Kwange said.
Mrs Ngozi Ibe, an official of the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, noted that beekeeping would encourage ecological awareness and generate income without destroying the environmental habitat.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that ApiExpo bee-stakeholders from all African countries, Europe and Asia have indicated interest to participate in Nigeria’s Expo from Sept. 24 through Sept. 29.
The event is targeted at creating international trade opportunities and foreign markets access for the beekeeping industry and attract national and international investments into the industry.
By Ginika Okoye