Audu Ogbeh, OFR
Nigeria, a socio-culturally diverse and geographically wide-ranging country, has a rich history in traditional beekeeping across the wide spectrum of cultures and climates. Nigeria occupies a prime place in West Africa, and is the most populous nation of the black race on earth. With a growing population of about 186 million people, Nigeria’s population is a rich asset base in human capital.
The diversity of culture among the citizens is one of Nigeria’s potential sources of strength, probably rare to find elsewhere. With over two hundred and fifty languages and over a hundred tribes, Nigeria offers one of the best cultural experiences you will find in a single country. Tourists find the sights and sound breath-taking, as they find the assortment of foods tantalizing.
Nigeria’s location within the tropics means, an endowment with much diverse and dense fauna and flora. Over 70 per cent of the landmass is suitable for commercial beekeeping activities and marks the country as the destination of choice for investment in Apiculture and its associated value chain.
Nigeria has records of traditional beekeeping methods dating back centuries. In recent times, interventions mostly focus on the introduction of modern and semi- modern beekeeping methods in the use of Kenyan Top Bar Hives, Langstroth hives, Flow hives among others.
We have come a long way in the practice of beekeeping and have earned an uncommon recognition as evidenced in the number and quality of Scientific, Oral and Postal presentations by some of our Beekeepers and Processors during the 45th World Conference Apimondia on Beekeeping, Apimondia 2017; and as we apply beekeeping in productive agriculture, rural development and sustainable livelihoods. It, therefore, accords an unprecedented commitment to the government to promote Apiculture as a business leveraging on the intrinsic potentials. Our hosting of the world at ApiExpo Africa, Abuja 2018 which is Africa’s biggest Beekeeping event in September 2018 would have crystallized our efforts.
Currently, the government identifies agriculture as the frontline economic powerhouse, with encouragement on the growth of agro-allied industries as providers of jobs and income. This also goes in tandem with government’s recognition of bees as crucial in increasing yield per hectare of crops through pollination. This has created multiplier effects, including provision of jobs in pollination services as well as well-structured production of honey and other hives products.
As part of the ‘Agricultural Promotion Policy-The Green Alternative’- currently under implementation, Nigeria is implementing the Apiculture Roadmap aimed at transforming the country to one of the top players in the global apicultural Sphere. To this end, Government has established the Nigerian Apiculture Platform with the objective of fostering the development of the sector while supporting the beekeepers and processors with the necessary inputs, required policies and legislation to drive the developmental processes for the industry.
It is, therefore, my profound delight and pleasure to invite you to Nigeria as we host Africa and the world to ApiExpo Africa, Abuja 2018. You are coming to Nigeria, a land of untapped opportunities in beekeeping. You are assured of a rich and diverse taste of ‘brand Nigeria’ in terms of variety of hives products. On behalf of the President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria , and the good people of our beloved nation, I warmly welcome you to ApiExpo Africa, Abuja 2018.
Audu Ogbeh, OFR