BY: Akpoke, Chiegele C. Ebonyi State ADP, NIGERIA – Nigerians are in the habit of over-flooding some areas of Agriculture thereby competing for the available inputs and increasing the price of labour needed in such areas while other areas that require only initial capital investment and labour are being ignored or kept dormant.
Apiculture indeed is one of the fields of Agriculture that has not been given due recognition in Nigeria whereas developed countries like USA and China which control the world food production do so by practicng Apiculture.
Oh! Yes the practice of Apiculture is not far from the secret of these countries but this has not been identified in Nigeria. According to the United States Honeybee research unit, the value of crops that require pollination by honeybees in the United State alone is estimated to be around $24 billion each year and commercial bee pollination was valued around $10 annually, where income from honey and beeswax is valued at $500 million annually.
Apiculture is an applied science of rearing honeybees for man’s economic benefits. In Nigeria, apiculture represents one of the UNTAPPED NATURAL RESOURCES, hence there is no record of any scientific approach by farmers to rear bees.
Occasionally, honey hunters are seen in remote villages of the nation where they harvest the honey stored up by wild honeybees in hollow trees and shrubs, underground and other conducive natural space.
As they do so, flames of fire are used to kill the innocent bees and their honey while their habitats are totally destroyed.
In contrast to this hunting, honeybees can be encouraged to live in a container called hive through the practice of Apiculture. By so doing, obtaining honey and other bee products become easier and more convenient whereas these products become natural and save for human consumption.
Indeed, this modern practice of beekeeping called Apiculture is not difficult to come by.In fact, some farmers like the first Executive Governor of Ebonyi State, Dr. Sam Egwu and institutions like Federal College of Agriculture, Ishiagu have been practicing Apicultre, where they obtain Natural pure honey and other hidden bee products.
Unlike many other aspect of Agriculture which are more obviously visible because they occupy large expanse of land, Apiculture is not easily noticeable as it could be practiced on a small portion of land or land that is not good for other crops.
The experience of Apiculturists(Bee farmers) in developed countries shows that commercial Apiculture is a money spinner.
This is an enterprise that requires only initial capital investment with little or no minimal running cost as it does not require feeding(with the rich vegetation in Nigeria) and does not compete with other aspects of Agriculture.
What is more, pollination, honey, beeswax production and honeybees also produce other natural products called pollen, propolis, royal jelly and bee venom which are playing increasing role in Nutrition, industries and medicine for the wellbeing of humanity.
The danger and un-pleasantries of the bee sting is greatly over-emphasized by the lay man. Who always lables the innocent honeybees a dangerous insect.
Indeed these natural products- Honey, pollen, beeswax, propolis, royal jelly and others are really free ‘Gold’ in Nigeria which needs to be tapped.