Owerri, Dec. 22, 2023: The Raw Materials Research and Development Council (RMRDC) has called on apiculturists to explore innovations in beekeeping value chain development for Nigeria’s economic growth.
The Director-General of RMRDC, Prof. Hussaini Ibrahim, made the call at a workshop on beekeeping organised by the council in collaboration with the Imo Apiculture Association with support from Mr Lucius Nwakanma, a beekeeper, in Owerri, on Thursday.
The RMRDC is an agency of the Federal Government vested with the mandate to promote the development and optimal utilisation of Nigeria’s industrial raw materials.
Ibrahim, who was represented by the Imo Coordinator of the RMRDC, Mr David Enemuo spoke on the theme: “Innovation in Bee Keeping Value Chain Development in Nigeria”.
He said that innovations in beekeeping have become expedient to save money that would have been expended on importation of raw materials which could be competitively produced in Nigeria.
He added that the apiary industry in Nigeria was, until recently, unexplored with the domestic need for honey met largely through importation thus, under developing the value chain and resulting in loss of possible foreign exchange.
“ In view of these challenges, we have ventured into bee keeping innovations to enable end-to-end swarm monitoring, improve bee health, simplify hive assessments and ensure an optimal colony environment to aid the apiary industry and grow Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product.
“With the importation of over N3bn worth of honey into the country annually, the RMRDC and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture have given honey a national agricultural commodity development priority to promote its sustainable development as an agribusiness “, he said.
Speaking, Nwakanma described beekeeping as “a lucrative business yet untapped “ and urged Nigerians to embrace innovations in apiculture.
A resource person, Mr Emmanuel Ubeh, who discussed the prospects of modern bee keeping technologies harped on climate change as a major challenge in bee keeping and urged communities and individuals to plant more trees to provide pollen grains for ease of pollination.
Another resource person, Mr Romanus Nlemchi, advised bee farmers to provide enough water for their bee colonies during the dry season to aid their productivity.
The workshop was attended by current and intending apiculturists from across the state.