Bee-Keeping: The Unexplored Gold Mind In Nigeria
A barrel of crude oil retail at $55.17 while a barrel of honey at the international market retail for $1,755.00
It is estimated that the Nigerian honey Market alone is worth N3 billion annually, excluding West Africa/Central Africa.
“The market for beekeeping and honey production is huge. From cosmetics, medicine, confectioneries, and the pharmaceutical industries, to religious groups, the demand for organic honey and other bi-products is growing.” DANIEL ESSIET.
There is so much money in honey and pollination services. Apiculture, the business of bee-keeping and honey production, is a goldmine.
There is a growing demand for organic honey and other products from the bee family. Clientele comprises mostly operators in the cosmetics, medicine, confectioneries and the pharmaceutical industries, including religious groups, with huge local and global demand for honey and its by-products, offers beekeeping tremendous opportunity for rural farmers to contribute to the fight against poverty and hunger. The business has huge employment and revenue earning capacity.
Economic Potential Of Honey Production
1. Honey has established itself as the best alternative to synthesized sugar as such it is priced high in the international market with a high demand for the product. There exists a large export market for honey on the global stage; with the European Union accounting for approximately 20-25% of the world’s consumption.
2. The other two major consumers of honey in the world are China and the USA. China accounts for approximately 15% of global consumption and the USA for 10%. The EU is also the major market for beeswax in the world. The USA is the second largest importer, accounting for 17% of beeswax imports. Japan is the third largest importer, accounting for 5% of the imports. The global foreign exchange earnings from honey production have grown well over that of crude oil production, with a barrel of crude oil put at $53.83 while a barrel of honey is estimated at the international market for $1,544.553. This shows clearly that the returns realizable from honey export, due to the enormous demand on the product, far out way what the nation is realizing from crude oil.
The beekeeping industry, when fully developed, can create thousands of jobs and a dozen new products and services as the government seeks to diversify the non-traditional agricultural sector. Honeybees are quite valuable as they contribute to the successes of agriculture and industry. Nigeria’s potential for local honey production is high and is a major export commodity. The development of beekeeping in Nigeria is important to meet local demand and contribute to the global demand for apiary products. It has the capacity to replace oil as the nation’s foreign exchange earner. Nigeria’s need to recognize its huge potential and explore this unexplored avenue of sure revenue generation and a great return for investment.
For instance, despite the increasing demand for honey and other bee products, such as beeswax (for making cosmetics, antiseptics, and for floor, furniture and shoe polish), bee cake, bee pollen, royal jelly, propolis, and bee bread, among others, local beekeepers are finding it difficult to meet the demand for original, pure honey and other bee products. The value of beekeeping to the economy is far greater than the value of the honey, which is harvested. This is because honeybees are the most efficient pollinators for several crops and environmentally important non-crop plants. Experts say that honeybees contribute an estimated $200 billion to the global economy through crop pollination and production of honey, beeswax and other bee products. In sub-Saharan Africa, beekeeping is important as a source of food, employment, environmental conservation and diversification of the export base.
Also, compared to other agricultural enterprises such as fish farming, poultry and livestock, beekeeping is a relatively low-cost, low labour intensive enterprise that does not require vast tracts of land. This makes it viable for women, youth and other disadvantaged groups.