By Amina Abubakar
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) have commenced quality guideline training of bee farmers across the country.
Dr Gideon Mshelbwala, the Director, Veterinary and Pest Control Services in the ministry, made the statement on Thursday in Goshen, Nasarawa State.
He said the training was aimed at enabling Nigeria meet European Union requirements for export of honey.
He added that the training would also help to build the capacity of bee farmers on modern bee keeping practices for them to comply with international standards in honey production.
The director said that the Federal Government was supporting bee farmers with inputs like bee hives and protective clothing and gloves to enable them boost production.
“Nigeria is ready to host the Africa Apiculture Expo in 2018 and we have paid the 50,000 dollars bidding fee.
“Bee farmers are ready for the programme and that is why we are training them,’’ Mshelbwala said.
Also speaking, the Executive Director, of NEPC, Mr Olusegun Awolowo, said the training was in line with the council’s mandate of offering practical guides to nurture Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Represented by Mr. Samuel Oyeyipo, Deputy Director, Product Development in the council, Awolowo said the training would enable Nigeria meet EU’s accreditation requirements for export of honey.
He said that Nigerian honey was being exported to other African countries and re-blended for export to other countries.
Awolowo assured bee farmers of the council’s readiness to improve the quality of the country’s honey and its by-products through enhanced capacity building of bee farmers, processors and exporters.
He said: “Nigeria’s quest to diversify its non-oil export has necessitated the need to harmonise its potential in non-traditional products such as honey and by-products.
“The production, processing and supply of Nigeria’s honey with over 80 per cent collected from wild environment, is guaranteed to meet international demand if we imbibe good bee-keeping practices.
“This training is one of the processes required for Nigeria to be listed as eligible to export honey to the EU market.
“For any country that will export honey to the EU market, you have to be accredited.
“If your country is not listed among the countries that export honey to the EU, if you export, they will reject it.’’
Mr Ademola Adeshina, the Chairman, Nigeria Apiculture Platform, said the training was an avenue to organise bee farmers to achieve their goal of exporting Nigeria’s honey to EU countries.
He said the training was apt as it would sensitise bee farmers to know the dos and don’ts in the trade to avoid rejection of their produce at the international markets.
“We want to begin to export our honey to the European Union and when we start, many people will be encouraged to come into the business,’’ he said.
The three-day training is tagged, “EU Third Country Listing, An Eligibility Criteria to Export Honey to the EU Market.