The executive director of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo says Nigeria loses $10 billion annually in capital flight to the importation of honey and its by-products.
He disclosed this at a technical session on enhancing global market access for Nigeria’s honey and honey by-products in Abuja.
He said lack of adequate production of honey in the country is costing the economy a huge loss, pointing out that old techniques used by beekeepers to produce honey was hindering export opportunities for the country.
Awolowo said the session during which bee smokers, bee hives and apparels were distributed to beekeepers was to address and identify challenges bedeviling the export potentials of the country’s honey and honey by-products.
He explained that obtaining listing certification for ease of market access of Nigeria’s honey to EU, as it accounts for 35 per cent of total global honey imports, would be the objective of the council for the sector to thrive.
He listed another objective as “to 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.”
Awolowo said experts in the industry were of the opinion 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.
Noting the absence of necessary legislation guiding honey production for quality assurance, he urged rural beekeepers to adopt new techniques in bee production as its intervention would open up domestic, regional and international markets.
Earlier the managing director of A & Shine Honey, Bukola Adeshina, identified theft, fire among others as challenges beekeepers face in meeting up with market demands, even as she urged government to make laws that would dissuade importation of honey.
Similarly, the president of Grassroot Beekeepers of Nigeria, Gideon Dagunduro, called for the creation of a research centre to document challenges faced by beekeepers.