Okechukwu Nnodim, Abuja
Nigeria spends over $2bn annually on the importation of honey, the Federal Government has said.
According to a report put together by officials of the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Nigerian Export Promotion Council and apiculture (beekeeping) experts, Nigeria consumes about 400,000 tonnes of honey annually but produces less than 10 per cent of its total consumption.
The report, which is contained in the concept note for the ApiExpo Africa 2018 coming up in Abuja this month, was made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Sunday.
It stated that as the Nigerian population grew, heavier demand on food resource had compelled agricultural methods to improve technologically in order to meet the national consumption requirements.
It said beekeeping was not an exception, adding that there was the compelling need for beekeepers to imbibe global standards in order to grow the subsector and integrate the benefits into mainstream agricultural development.
It said, “Currently, Nigeria consumes about 400,000 tonnes of honey annually, produces less than 40,000 tonnes (10 per cent of the consumption) which by implication translates to an import bill of over $2bn annually.
“Low yields from local farmers due to primitive methods of farming means that national food production is less than national food consumption, which by implication swells the national import bill by staggering figures to billions of dollars.”
The government, however, stated that it had commenced moves aimed at reducing the amount spent on the importation of honey into Nigeria.
It said the implementation of the Apiculture Road map, under the Agricultural Promotion Policy, aimed at transforming the country to one of the top players in the global apiculture sphere.
“To this end, government has established the Nigerian Apiculture Platform with the objective of fostering the development of the sector while supporting the beekeepers and processors with the necessary inputs, required policies and legislation to drive the developmental processes for the industry,” the report stated.
The Team Lead, ApiExpo Africa, Chinyere Akujobi, stated that the objective of the forthcoming expo was to clearly articulate the importance of the event to national economic growth and provide justification for a comprehensive support by the Federal Government for agriculture-related activity.
All rights reserved. This material, and other digital content on this website, may not be reproduced, published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or in part without prior express written permission from PUNCH.