The Federal Government has promised to encourage and support apiculture with special emphasis to honey production in the country.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said this at the official flag-off of ApiExpo Africa 2018 in Abuja on Thursday.
Ogbeh said that the federal government would collaborate with the Afe Babalola University to support bee farmers and keepers in the purchase of special types of woods for the production of bee hives.
“It is a bit embarrassing that Nigeria is listed very low among the nations participating in this industry. Embarrassing to a place not too difficult to explain, once we found oil and gas, we lost our memory for agriculture.
“Bees help us pollinate our crops, people rent bees across the continents now; bees are dying in large numbers in many countries like Western Europe and the United States.
“Scientists are trying to find out what is wrong, is transmission by telephones, is it chemicals in the farms, or is it climate change issues.
“Will the same thing happen in Africa? If it does, how do we pollinate 75 per cent of our crops, how do we increase yield?
“I think that we need to show more services to the animals so they can give services to us.
“Don’t lose hope, together, we are coming back. We will support the bee farmers,’’ Ogbe said.
Mr Flilippo Amato, the Head of the Trade and Economic Section of European Union (EU), said no fewer than 10 countries in Africa were eligible to export honey to the EU.
He listed the countries to include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Amato urged Nigeria to join the list to boost the country’s economy.
“Being listed is not an easy process, it requires the effort, willingness and cooperation of several stakeholders both from the private and public sectors,’’ he explained.
Mr Ernest Aubee, the Head of Agriculture Division, ECOWAS Commission, said the commission would partner with the federal government to ensure that the api-expo, to be held in Nigeria in September, was a success.
Aubee commended the agricultural transformation of the federal government, adding that the commission will ensure the replication in ECOWAS member countries.
Mr Bosco Okeilo, the Chief Executive Officer, Apitrade Africa, said the objective of the exposition was to foster economic drive, social mobilisation and political (policies) influence to move apiculture industry forward.
He said that bee-keeping would ensure pollination for food security in the country.
The Chairman, Nigeria Apiculture Platform, Mr Ademola Adesina, said that many bee-keepers and representatives from Europe, Asia and America would be attending the Api-Expo in September 2018.
The Api-Expo launch attracted bee stakeholders from different states of the country.