The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) says lack of adequate production of honey in Nigeria is costing the economy over $10 billion annually.
The Executive Director and CEO of NEPC, Olusegun Awolowo, said this at a technical session on Enhancing Global Markets Access for Nigerian Honey and Honey by-Products in Abuja.
He added that old techniques that beekeepers use to produce honey is hindering export opportunities for the country.
He also stated that obtaining listing certification for ease of market access of Nigeria honey to EU, as it accounts for 35 percent of total global honey imports, would be the objective of the council for the sector to thrive.
“The Federal Government’s interest in the honey sector is to help the country generate foreign exchange earnings, generate employment and decimate poverty among communities in Nigeria through export by connecting Micro, Small and Medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs) and apiary farmers to offshore market opportunities.
“Industry experts posit that Nigeria is capable of generating at least $10 billion annually from the trading of honey and other beehive products if there is an improvement of quality compliance with food safety standards and fulfilment of 3rd Country Listing Certification to ease market access,” he said.
‘Adopt new techniques’
The NEPC boss noted that there was absence of necessary legislation guiding honey production for quality assurance.
In addition, he urged rural beekeepers to adopt new techniques that would open up domestic, regional and international markets.
Awolowo said the session, which saw the distribution of bee smokers, bee hives and apparels to beekeepers, was to identify and address challenges bedeviling the export potentials of Nigeria’s honey and honey by-products.
Earlier, the Managing Director of A & Shine Honey, Bukola Adeshina, identified theft and fire among others as challenges beekeepers face in meeting up with market demands.
She urged the government to make laws that would dissuade importation of honey and prosecute those caught stealing or destroying beehives.
Also, the president of Grassroot Beekeepers of Nigeria, Gideon Dagunduro, called for the creation of a research centre to document challenges faced by beekeepers.