Entomologist suggests establishment of bee farms to boost harvest
Mr Johnson Oluwaseun, an entomologist, a specialist in the study of insects, has identified establishment of apiaries (bee farms) as the panacea for bumper harvests in Nigeria.
Oluwaseun, a consultant with USAID Market 2 in beekeeping training, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Owerri.
According to him, the establishing more apiaries would increase the number of bees which are pollinators that enhance crop production.
“The greatest potential in beekeeping is pollination because 80 per cent of what we eat is as a result of effective and efficient pollination; if there are no pollinators, there will be no human beings because there will be no food.
“Nigeria is yet to harness its enormous potential in beekeeping, that is why farmers record very low output in their per hectare yield of many crops; for a positive change, more farmers should establish apiaries,” he said.
Oluwaseun said that USAID Market 2 resolved to build the capacity of rural women in five pilot states of Nigeria to achieve improved nutrition.
NAN recalls that USAID Market 2 recently trained 100 women from Eziorsu in Oguta Local Government Area and 50 women from Umukabia Ogodo in Ngor Okpala Local Government Area of Imo in basic beekeeping methods.
The entomologist noted that Nigeria imports honey worth more than N30 billion yearly whereas it has the potential to surpass Ethiopia (the current leading exporter of honey and other products in Africa).
“Nigeria presently imports honey worth more than N30billion yearly which is about 80 per cent of the honey it consumes.
“Meanwhile the country has the potential to export six products from bees; honey, beeswax, bees venom, royal jelly, pollen and propolis as well as generate foreign exchange,” he said.
Oluwaseun who said soap, pollen and creams, among others, could be made from by-products of bees, emphasised the need for beekeeping to be offered as a degree course in Nigeria universities.
“As we speak, no entomologist in Nigeria today is trained in the country, yet this branch of studies is imperative for increased food production, among others.
“I am aware of a few tertiary institutions in Nigeria that offer Masters Degree in beekeeping as an entrepreneurial course, but we really need universities to offer beekeeping at undergraduate level to produce more teachers.
“Though beekeeping is included in the agricultural science syllabus of secondary schools, there is a dearth of qualified teachers to handle the subject and reposition the nation in beekeeping,” he said.
He recommended that entomology be included in the mainstream educational courses to enable Nigeria to benefit from its advantages.
“Besides generating revenue from products from bees, scientists from Europe and America are working on the possibility of using bee venom to cure cancer and HIV.
“It is important that Nigeria joins in the depth of scientific studies on insects especially bees so as to be able to make discoveries which will list Nigeria among nations to be reckoned with in this sector,” Oluwaseun said.
The entomologist called on state governments and corporate bodies to emulate USAID Market 2 in building capacity in beekeeping, stressing “beekeeping has the potential to increase internally generated revenue of states.’’