OPENING REMARKS BY DR. GIDEON MSHELBWALA, THE DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF VETERINNARY & PEST CONTROL SERVICES, FMARD ABUJA AT THE AU-IBAR NATIONAL TRAINING ON HONEY PRODUCTION, BEE HEALTH AND POLLINATION SERVICES

The Representation from AU,

Directors and Dep. Directors

Representatives of other Ministries

Representatives of beekeepers Association and Federations

Extension/Value chain Desk Officers

Experts and Facilitators

Ladies and Gentlemen of the Press,

It is an honor and pleasure for me to welcome you all to this Training of trainers (TOTS) Workshop on Honey Production, safe handling of beehive products, bee disease control & pollination services for the country. The objective of the training is to strengthen the capacity of bee extension workers and other professional in national beekeeping stations and the beekeepers through presenting improved technologies with spillover benefits on  beehive products quantity and quality, enhanced access to market and returns from beekeeping and pollination industries.

The broad representation of stakeholders from public and the private sector at this training underlines the importance of creating the necessary synergy for driving the activities of the apiculture sector in Nigeria. The ministry of agriculture and Rural Development gladly agreed to co-organize this workshop in keffi at the request of the AU-IBARI and I wish to express on behalf of the federal ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD), our appreciation and gratitude to the AU-IBAR for the continuous support given to the Government of Nigeria in the Development of the animal resources in the Country.

This train the trainer workshop, as you may be aware, is part of a project being implemented by AU-IBAR in collaboration with the International center for insect physiology and ecology (ICIPE), and with the support of the European Union (EU) titled African Reference Laboratory (with satellite stations) for the management of pollinator bee diseases and pest for food security that aims to enhance the contribution of bees and other pollinators to food security and improved livelihoods in Africa.

As part of the framework of this project, the AU-IBAR is supporting the Federal Ministry of Agriculture & Rural Development to organize this National training on Honey production, Bee health and pollination services. It may also interest you to note that AU-IBAR is also supporting the country in the launch of the Nigerian ApiculturePlatform (NAP) which will take place on the 8th& 9th of September, 2016.

Honeybee industry in Nigeria is very profitable, with great potential that could be leveraged as Nigeria strive to move away from a mono oil economy to non-oil economy. Unfortunately, the sector still remains widely untapped as most beekeepers In the rural areas still use outdated techniques In production. The primary interest and product of the industry is liquid honey, which probably accounts for more than 95 percent of the resources. Apart from inadequate yield due to lack of investment, there is also the challenge of inadequate or poor infrastructure, such as roads and access to farm input. Most bee farmers cannot access inputs and rural services and extension information to take advantage of its growing demand. There is also absence of coordination in for of farmers’ cooperatives to achieve scale. In  order to harness the potentials in these sector, the FMARD has constituted an Inter-ministerial/Agency Technical Working committee to develop a policy framework and guideline for the industry and has also prioritize the development of the apiculture industry.

This training workshop on production and handling of honey and other beehive products, bee disease and pest control therefore could not have come at a better time than now when Government has given priority to bee industry development having identified it as one of the commodities that can generate foreign exchange in the diversification of her economy. It is expected that this capacity building exercise will help support the country in harnessing the potential in the honeybee sector.

I therefore welcome you all to the opening ceremony of this training workshop and it is our hope that the nominated participants will derive maximum benefit from this training workshop and in turn serve as role models for the country’s Apiculture industry

Thank you and God bless.

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