Speech By The Honourable Minister Of Agriculture And Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh (OFR) On The Occasion Of The Opening Ceremony Of ApiExpo Africa 2018, Abuja, Held At The Abuja International Conference Center On 25th September, 2018.
It gives me great pleasure to be part of this edition of ApiExpo Africa. This edition of ApiExpo Africa, as you may know is the first on the west coast of Africa and Nigeria is delighted to be hosting Africa and top global players in the Apiculture Industry.
The theme of ApiExpo Africa 2018, “Beekeeping Industry for Wealth Creation, Economic Diversification and Sustainable Development” underscores the huge untapped potential inherent in the Beekeeping subsector. As you may know, in most developed countries and some developing climes, Beekeeping has created jobs for men, women and youths along the entire value chain from production, processing, packaging and marketing. Beekeeping is known to have generated income and improved the livelihood of small holder farmers in these parts of the world.
It might interest you to note that the value of global business of the Apiculture industry is estimated at about $200 billion comprising honey production, beeswax and other bee hive products and most importantly pollination. Of this value, Africa represents a teaspoon of less than 10% despite her huge potential (Nigeria inclusive).
Presently, with the downtime in the oil economy, Nigeria is exploring diversification of her economy. Agriculture has been identified as the frontline economic powerhouse, for growth of agro-allied industries and providers of jobs and income. Furthermore, the Beekeeping subsector has been identified as a low hanging fruit and a major driver in the green revolution taking place in Nigeria’s Agricultural sector. Most importantly, Government recognises the role bees play in increasing yield per hectare of crops through pollination and its multiplier effects, including provision of jobs in pollination services as well as well-structured production of honey and other hives products.
Noteworthy also, is the fact that the United Nations has set aside the 20th of May every year as the World Bee Day. World Bee Day presents an opportunity to recognize the role of beekeeping, bees and other pollinators in increasing food security, improving nutrition and fighting hunger as well as in providing key ecosystem services for agriculture.’ – José Graziano da Silva, FAO Director-General. The United Nations believes that the protection of bees and other pollinators will significantly contribute to solving problems with global food supply and eliminating hunger. It will also contribute to efforts to halt further loss of biodiversity and degradation of ecosystems, as well as to the objectives of sustainable development defined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Nigeria is not left out of the Apiculture Revolution as Government is assiduously working towards providing the enabling environment needed for the growth of the industry. As part of the ‘Agricultural Promotion Policy-The Green Alternative’ – currently under implementation, Nigeria is implementing the Apiculture Roadmap aimed at transforming the country to one of the top players in the global apicultural Sphere.
To this end, the Government through the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development opened a clear budget line for Apiculture & Beekeeping and commissioned the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Honey Production, Bee Health & Pollination Services to develop a new policy framework on Beekeeping. By including strategic sister ministries and support agencies, Trade & Investment, Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Raw Materials Research & Development Council, a more robust industry development intervention is now more visible and impacting.
In the same vein, Government in conjunction with the Africa Union Inter-Bureau for Animals Resources (AU-IBAR) Government has also established the Nigeria Apiculture Platform (NAP) as the driver of the development of the Apiculture sector in the country. The Nigeria Apiculture Platform provides at the National level an engagement platform for all players along the Apiculture Value Chain ranging from beekeepers, processors, packers, associations, cooperatives, researchers, academia, policy makers, financial institutions and even consumers.
To foster growth, Government is currently building the capacity of Beekeepers and processors on modern technologies and conscientiously training start-ups to develop the much needed critical mass for sustainable growth of the industry. Strategically, also, Government is building the capacity of her Veterinarians on Bee health with a view to developing a work force to protect the Bees from diseases and pest incursion and other adverse conditions (Pesticides and adverse climate change).
In addition, Government is supporting beekeepers and processors with the necessary inputs and equipment, single digit interest credit loans to engender transformation from subsistence to commercial apiculture practices. Nigeria has records of traditional beekeeping methods dating back centuries. Presently, interventions mostly focus on the introduction of modern and semi- modern beekeeping methods in the use of Kenyan Top Bar Hives, Langstroth hives, among others.
Furthermore, the country is developing a National Residue Monitoring Plan (RMP) for honey, a pre-requisite for enlistment on the EU-3rd country listing. It’s worrisome that most Africa countries do not have RMP for honey; majority are also not on the EU-3rd country list largely due to non-compliant to required standards which borders on food safety. This is worrisome as these products are currently consumed within the continent posing threat to public health
In conclusion, increase in consumer preferences for natural and organic alternatives to sweeteners, growing demand from beverages industry for honey as substitutes to sweeteners; demand from pharmaceuticals and cosmetics industry for honey and other hives products (propolis, pollen, beeswax, royal jelly etc) will further increase the already huge demand for honey. It is therefore, pertinent that Africa makes concerted effort to increase its share of the global market for honey and other hives products.
The 6th edition of ApiExpo Africa has been designed to allow for intense cross fertilization of ideas on strategic measures to reposition Africa Apiculture Industry, offering sound technical sessions, B2B meetings, roundtable discussion, networking and market linkages. It is therefore my wish that there will be an “Abuja declaration” that will kick start the African Apiculture Revolution with a clear road map for the evolution of Africa Apiculture Industry. It is also my hope that this declaration will lead to:
- Global relevance and international recognition of Africa Beekeeping industry products, services and research leading to an improved continental image.
- Establishment of Africa as the investment destination of choice for Global Apiculture resource, leadership and human expertise.
- Expansion and increased investments and participation by Industries & Small and Medium Scale Enterprise in the Apiculture/Beekeeping industry in Africa.
- Improved and increased participation of youths and women in Beekeeping and by extension, Agriculture.
- Promotion of value addition and standards
- Enhanced regional and international trade
Distinguished guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, at this juncture, I urge all delegates, participants and the general public to make the most of ApiExpo Africa 2018 as we begin this great journey to harnessing the full potential of the African Apiculture Industry.
Thank you and welcome to Nigeria