By Sunday Oyinloye
It was meant to be a day Media engagement on ApiExpo Africa coming up in Abuja, Nigeria later this month with two veteran journalists, Moji Makanjuola and Femi Ibrahim on ground to join forces with professionals in the Apiculture sector. However, at the end of the training, not only were participants able to learn so much about Apiculture, they also realized that it is an untapped “goldmine” that could be explored by interested Nigerians, asides discovering the prospects and challenges of Beekeeping Industry in the country.
For instance, one of the incredible revelations at the training was that some uninformed members of the public sometimes label beekeepers as ritualists because of the shape of beehive. Beehive which is mostly made with woods in Nigeria is an enclosed structure in which some honey bee species of the subgenus Apis live and raise their young. Besides the challenge of misinformation about what beehive is by few people in the society coupled with other minor challenges associated with Apiculture sector, some of the participants knew for the first time that they could combine their profession with Apiculture. Not only that, they learnt more about the numerous byproducts that could be gotten from bees and what they are used for thereby preparing them to report Apiculture from the point of knowledge. However, they never lost focus of the reason for the capacity building, the ApiExpo Africa coming up in Abuja between September25-29, 2018.
The tone of the training was set by William Ezeagu, Director Product Development with Nigerian Export Promotion Council who described the media engagement as “ a new dawn in our collective efforts at joining hands towards engendering sustainable development of Beekeeping Industry” He said ApiExpo Africa would provide opportunity for Nigerian Beekeepers to showcase their products to the world and African participants in particular adding that his council would continue to provide necessary support required within its mandate for the ultimate success of the event.
The Chairman of Nigeria Apiculture Platform, Ademola Adeshina also aligned himself with Ezeagu. According to him, the importance of Apiculture cannot be overemphasized. He disclosed that one stop shop would be established for everything relating to bees and beehive products in Nigeria. Talking specifically about ApiExpo 2018, Adeshina challenged the private sector, state and local governments to key into the event which he said has the potentials to turn around the nation’s economy and reduce poverty and unemployment.
Earlier in her welcome address, the Chair APiExpo Organising Committee, Dr.Dooshima Kwange explained that the media engagement was borne out of the importance the organizing committee attaches to information dissemination and challenged participants to begin to sensitize the public about the Expo and importance of Apiculture. She equally advised states and corporate bodies to key into the Expo.
One of the Resource Persons, Ngozi Ibe who spoke on “Beekeeping and associated value chains” said anybody could be a Beekeeper once the right working tools are procured and the commitment is there. She disclosed that Beekeeping encourages ecological awareness adding that good income could be made in the chain of Beekeeping sector including pollination services.
In his presentation, Oluwaseun Johnson speaking to “Beekeeping in pollination and biodiversity” disclosed that two-third of the world’s 3000 species of agricultural crops require pollination. According to him, bees exclusively pollinate 90% of apple, oranges, and some other fruits stressing that Nigeria can make billions of Naira annually from pollination services.
Another Resource person, Obianuju Okpo, speaking on the Economics of Apiculture said the sector has the potential to grow the economy of Nigeria and lead to reduction in unemployment. She revealed that Africa has only 5% of the market share of the world’s honey production and challenged Nigerians to take advantage of ApiExpo Africa to embrace Apiculture. Okpo said anyone who engages in beeping in Nigeria could make over hundred percent returns on investment.
A veteran Journalist, Femi Ibrahim in his paper titled “Promoting Alternative Trade using Apiculture” challenged the media to set agenda for promoting alternative trade. He said Nigeria’s dependence on oil would reduce if the country embraces Apiculture. Ibrahim observed that as it is today, politicians set agenda instead of the media and enjoined the media to change the narrative.
Speaking in the same vein, another veteran Journalist, Moji Makanjuola in her paper titled “ Media as a strategic tool to promote ApiExpo Africa 2018 Abuja” also challenged the media to promote Apiculture so that Nigerians generally would know the benefits of the sector and participate fully in ApiExpo Africa, Abuja 2018. She said it is time for Nigeria to move away from mono-economy adding “the media should amplify the benefits of Apiculture as an alternative to oil”
Dr. Chinyere Akujobi on her part enumerated the economic benefits of ApiExpo Africa, 2018 Abuja which she noted would attract participants from across the globe. She advised Nigerians to take full advantage of the event to chat a new path to economic development.
With ApiExpo Africa, 2018 Abuja around the corner, Nigerians should know that a great platform has been provided for the economic development of the country and participate in the event .They should also engage in beekeeping because of the benefits the bee has on human existence.