The African Union Inter-Bureau for Animal Resources on Thursday in Abuja launched Nigerian Apiculture platform as part of its 13.1 billion Euros bee project in Africa.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, at the launching said the honeybee industry was identified as key area for the much needed economic diversification.
He said, “Global honey yield is estimated at 1.4 million tonnes annually costing about $7 billion.
“It is estimated that honeybee could contribute to increase agricultural productivity and food security by more than a third through pollination.”
Ogbe said about 20,000 beehives would be distributed to farmers this year, adding that the market for the bee products was huge globally.
According to him, Nigeria has enormous potential for a vibrant apiculture industry.
He added that the honeybee industry can be very profitable as the country worked hard to diversify the economy.
He said, “Unfortunately, the sector still remains widely untapped as most beekeepers in the rural areas still use outdated techniques of setting fire in production process.
“Since the inception of this administration, the apiculture sector has been given special attention by the ministry with an Inter-Ministerial Technical Working Committee on honey production and bee health in place.
“The Bees Importation Act of 2004 is being reviewed by the National Assembly to protect and strengthen local apiculture industry with a budget in the ministry to address developmental issues relating its operation.”
He, however, appreciated AU-IBAR continuous support to the government, calling for more support with relevant stakeholders at the Federal, State and Local level in the interest of the industry.
The Director of African Union’s Inter-African Union Bureau for Animal Resources, Dr Simplice Mouaba said the money was a support by the European Union to develop honeybee in Africa.
He, therefore, urged the Federal Government to take ownership of the project because the industry had huge potential for job creation.