By Gabriel Ewepu & Rebecca Amos
ABUJA—THE Federal Government, yesterday, disclosed that 20,000 beehives would be developed across the country.
According to government, the bee industry will help diversify the nation’s economy.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, stated this during the inauguration of Inter-ministerial Committee on Honey Production, Bee Health and Pollination Services.
He charged the committee to come up with sustainable road map for the bee industry to address all issues concerning capacity building, production, processing and standard for export.
According to him, the National Assembly has embarked on reviewing the Bees Importation Act of 2004 to protect and strengthen local apiculture/bee keeping Industry.
Ogbeh said: “The import bill on honey in this country is huge, same with tomato paste and everything we use. Rice, sugar and maize are all imported due to migration from the villages to the cities. The urban poverty is now greater than rural poverty.
“If some other countries can make $300 million from honey, what are we doing importing so much?
“We have now to tell the world the use, valid and importance of bee farm. Agriculture hasn’t done too well because the yield of the farms have been low, and one of the reasons is that most of our crops don’t have sufficient pollination.
Meanwhile, the African Union-IBAR has launched the Nigerian Apiculture Platform, asking Nigerians to take full ownership of the platform.
The launch, which was made by Director, African Union InterAfrican Union Bureau for Animal Resources, AU-IBAR, Prof Ahmed Elsawalhy, who was represented by Dr. Simplisy Nouola, said: “As African Union, our own is to set up the environment, we are here in Nigeria to assist our colleagues to establish a platform because this is a platform where you have all the actors you know.”
“When we talk of this platform, people will think it is the African Union affairs. We have to think sustainable here; it means ownership.
‘’It means it should be owned and managed by Nigerians. It is not African Union platform but Nigerian platform. So they have to put in place a mechanism that this platform will continue beyond the lifespan for the project,” Nouola said.