The global foreign exchange earnings from honey production have grown over that of crude oil production, Minister of Agriculture Akinwunmi Adesina has said.
He said this at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) sponsored "Farmer-to-Farmer" (F2F) dialogue between honey producers and beekeepers which was held in Abuja recently. The minister was represented by Deputy Director, Youth and Gender of the ministry, Mrs. Karima Babangida
"It is pertinent to note that a barrel of honey attracts more foreign exchange than crude oil. A barrel of crude oil is currently sold at about $101 as compared to a barrel of honey which is sold at the international market at $1,539, royalty inclusive," Adesina said.
He explained that the ministry has initiated collaborative measures with honey producers to train youths and women on bee farming and honey processing, adding that the measure was in line with its ongoing Agriculture Transformation Agenda (ATA).
The conference themed, "Healthy bees, healthy environment, healthy humans" was initiated to checkmate indiscriminate bush burning, vandalism of beekeeping facilities and honey theft challenges against sustainable honey production in Nigeria.
It involved over 100 key actors in the honey production value-chain, including Nigeria's security formations.
While underscoring the need for government intervention in beekeeping and honey production, Adesina explained that the ministry had earlier in the year trained 40 women and youths in beekeeping and granted them startup funds and equipment to enable them establish beekeeping enterprises.
He said: "In countries like Ethiopia, which has achieved the position of being the world's 8th largest exporter of honey and the 4th largest exporter of beeswax, modern beekeeping currently provides employment for over two million people and other countries like Tanzania and Kenya are actively promoting apiculture as a poverty reduction tool."