By Martha Agas
The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), on Thursday began capacity building for bee farmers in Plateau, on export competitiveness.
The workshop is themed: “Global Best Agricultural Practices in Apiary and Processing of Honey for Export Competitiveness”.
Speaking at the event in Jos, the Executive Director of NEPC, Dr Ezra Yakusak, said that the workshop was organised for sensitisation on bee farming, also known as apiculture, and exploring the potential of honey value chain
Yakusak’s speech was delivered by the Regional Coordinator of NEPC in the North Central, Mr Samson Idowu.
The NEPC boss said that as part of its export4survival campaign, the council was making efforts to ensure that products from Nigeria were in compliance with international standards in quality and certification.
“The NEPC is presently facilitating Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) acquisition of international certification to access niche market in premium pricing,” he said.
He said that more than 154 Micro and Small Medium Enterprises had benefitted from the programme across the country.
He added that 101 exporters had so far acquired certification in Hazard Analysis, Critical and Control Point, and Food and Drug Administration, and that the certification process of 200 SMEs also had since commenced.
Earlier in his remarks, Idowu said that there were opportunities in apiculture in Plateau, and in Nigeria in general.
The regional coordinator said that a report by USAID had revealed that bee keeping pollination project could generate more than 10 billion dollars from local and international trade in honey, with domestic consumption in 2019 at 300,000 metric tonnes.
He said that the workshop was organised to guide farmers through the process of adopting practices that could facilitate exportation of produce.
While urging Nigerians to consider export as a source of earning that was required to boost the country’s economy, he advised them to take advantage of some of the council’s facilities as a gateway for export activities.
“We also have domestic export warehouses within the six geopolitical zones of the country. These facilities are equipped with relevant government agencies to ensure products are properly handled before heading to the ports,” he said.
In his presentation, the Managing Director of Apis Interactive Network Ltd, Mr David Musa, said that global best practices required maximum quality in bee products farming.
Musa, a consultant on Apiculture, stated this in his presentation on “Global Best Practices in Development and Marketing of the Apiculture Value Chain in Plateau’.
He said that the farmers should eliminate contamination and adhere to environmental accountability, while also ensuring that their business did not harm biodiversity and the ecosystem balance.
He further advised farmers to reposition their businesses and make provisions for expansion to meet international demand.
According to Musa bee farming has the potential to thrive and expanding in Plateau, as it is 60 per cent less costly than half of all livestock enterprises.
“And it is 40 per cent more viable than 60 per cent of all cash crops,” he said.