Bees which are perceived by many as a dangerous insect to keep or rear is also seen by some as a money-spinning insect to be nurtured and reared to make a livelihood from its various hive products.
According to experts, bees can be less harmful when the beekeeper knows the rules and respects them. It may not sting the beekeepers when they meticulously obey the protocols while stealing from them.
Beekeeping is the rearing and breeding of bees of different types primarily for honey and hive produce. It may also include keeping bees for pollination and environmental management among others.
Beekeeping or Apiculture is the maintenance of bee colonies, commonly in man-made hives, most of such bees are honeybees in the genus Apis.
A beekeeper or apiarist keeps bees in order to collect their honey and other products that the hive produces which include honey, bee wax, bee venom, royal jelly, propolis, bee bread, pollen.
This month, Nigeria will be hosting the ApiExpo Africa 2018, which will see the convergence of investors in the Apicultural sub-sector across the world, coming to Nigeria to discuss the way forward in beekeeping, also using the opportunity to interface with Nigerian beekeepers to see possible areas of collaboration.
ApiExpo is a continental trade Expo organised by ApiTrade Africa, a pan-African not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Uganda but which works in all the 55 African Union Member States.
The event is held biennially in different African countries bringing together every allied industry around the global beekeeping sector.
ApiExpo is the African version of APIMONDIA (World Beekeeping Congress), it covers exhibitions, scientific sessions and Business meetings for investors and other actors along the value chain. It is a congregation of every stakeholder along the beekeeping value chain
It will also create international trade opportunities and foreign market access for the Beekeeping industry, attract national and foreign investments into the Beekeeping industry.
The Expo will stimulate refined processes for sustainable growth through seamless collaboration between public and private sector players, strengthen the private sector towards sustained development, create youth employment thereby alleviating poverty.
The ApiExpo is also expected to increase food security through reduction of hunger-related malnutrition in order to meet the 2030 zero hunger UN and FAO target and maintain eco-diversity balance through mitigation of global warming.
Apiculture contributes tremendous amount in Value to the economy of any nation that harnesses the potentials in the sector. The honey bees work in different capacities to store resources, defend their residence, and nurse their brood.
Identifying beekeeping as a potential, Chief Audu Ogbeh, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, said that the Federal Government would collaborate with the Afe Babalola University to support bee farmers and keepers in the purchase special types of woods for the production of beehives.
Ogbeh explained that the expo would help to promote the potential of bee farming and the need to produce such to the international community and promote the sector.
“It is a bit embarrassing that Nigeria is listed very low among the nations participating in this industry.
“Embarrassing to a place not too difficult to explain, once we found oil and gas, we lost our memory for agriculture.
“Bees help us pollinate our crops, people rent bees across the continents now, bees are dying in large numbers in many countries like Western Europe and the United States.
Mr Filippo Amato, the Head of the Trade and Economic Section of European Union (EU), said that no fewer than 10 countries in Africa were eligible to export honey to the EU.
He listed the countries to include Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroun, Ethiopia, Ghana, Madagascar, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Amato, therefore, urged Nigeria to join the list to boost the country’s economy.
Similarly, Mr Ernest Aubee, the Head of Agriculture Division, ECOWAS Commission, said the commission would partner with the Federal Government to ensure that the ApiExpo would be a success.
He commended the agricultural transformation of the Federal Government, noting that the commission would ensure the replication in ECOWAS member countries.
Mr Bosco Okeilo, the Chief Executive Officer, Apitrade Africa, said that the objective of the exposition was to foster economic drive, social mobilisation and political influence to move apiculture industry forward.
In his view, the Chairman of the ApiExpo Africa 2018 Organising Committee, Dr Dooshima Kwange, explained that the event would create international trade opportunities and foreign market access for the beekeeping industry.
Kwange noted that the expo would stimulate refined processes for a sustainable growth through seamless collaboration between the public and private sector players to create employment and reduce rural-urban movement.
She said that the objective of the event was to increase food security through reduction of hunger-related malnutrition to meet the 2030 zero-hunger FAO’s target and maintain eco-diversity balance through mitigation of global warming.
Kwange explained that the exposition with theme “Beekeeping Industry for Sustainable Development, Wealth Creation and Economic Diversification’’, was expected to bring the country’s bee industry goods, services and research to global relevance and attain international recognition leading to an improved national image.
Dr Chinyere Eneh, the Secretary of the ApiExpo Committee, said that the event was a continental trade expo organised by ApiTrade, a pan-African not-for-profit organisation with the headquarters in Uganda that works in all 55 African Union member states.
Eneh said that the event would help in the improvement of the sector and help in actualising the Sustainable Development Goals.
She said that all Africa countries, as well as some European and Asian countries, had indicated interest to participate in the exposition.