By Cecilia Ologunagba
Amb. Lot Egopija, Consul-General of Nigeria in New York has described bee farming in as an ” untapped gold mine” in Nigeria capable of generating more than 10 billion dollars in annual revenue for the country.
Egopija said this in a message to the World Bee Conference organised by the Nigeria-USA Chamber of Commerce in Cleveland, Ohio.
The envoy explained that a barrel of honey cost more than a barrel of crude oil, which is currently Nigeria’s black gold.
“Bee farming is an untapped gold mine in Nigeria as a barrel of honey cost more than a barrel of crude oil.
“It is estimated that the industry can generate over ten billion dollars annually.
“In addition to honey, bee farming yields by-products such as beeswax, bee venom, and propolis that have industrial use in the pharmaceutical, food and beverage industries.
“Research has shown that quality bee farming is viable in the rural areas of at least eight states across Nigeria,’’ he said.
The envoy, therefore, pledged support for any foreign investor willing to go into bee farming in Nigeria, adding that the Trade and Investment Desk in the Nigerian Consulate would assist investors desirous of tapping into the country’s unsaturated bee industry.
Egopija told the conference that as part of efforts to diversify the Nigerian economy, the Federal Government had been encouraging farmers to invest in bee farming.
“The government has, through Executive Order NO.002 of 2017 on the Ease of Doing Business, removed the bottlenecks inhibiting investment in Nigeria.
“The Nigerian Export Promotion Council has been mandated to provide adequate information and support to bee farmers to enhance the production, storage, handling, and packaging of honey and other by-products for export,’’ he said.
World Bee Day is celebrated on May 20 to draw the attention of the world’s public and political decision-makers to the importance of protecting bees and other pollinators.
The goal is to strengthen measures aimed at protecting bees and other pollinators which are expected to contribute significantly to solving problems related to the global food supply and eliminate hunger in developing countries.
According to the United Nations (UN), bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies, bats, and hummingbirds are increasingly under threat from human activities.
Pollination is, however, a fundamental process for the survival of the world’s ecosystems.
Nearly 90 per cent of the world’s wild flowering plant species depend, entirely, or at least in part, on animal pollination, along with more than 75 per cent of the world’s food crops and 35 per cent of global agricultural land.
To raise awareness on the importance of pollinators, the threats they face, and their contribution to sustainable development, the UN designated May 20 as World Bee Day.