WELCOME SPEECH BY PROF. AHMED ELSAWALHY DIRECTOR, AU-IBAR ON ON HONEY PRODUCTION, SAFE HANDLING OF BEEHIVE PRODUCTS, BEE DISEASES CONTROL & POLLINATION SERVICES
Honorable minister of the federal Ministry of Agriculture of Nigeria
Directors in the federal Ministry of Agriculture, Environment & others Ministries
Representatives of others Federal Ministries
Representatives of beekeepers Association and Federations
Extension workers in different Ministries & NGOs
Experts and Facilitators
Colleges from AU
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the national training of trainers (TOTS) on honey production, safe handling of beehive products, bee diseases control & pollination services for the Federal Republic of Nigeria and your presence here is highly appreciated and critical to the success of this practical training, and to driving the activities of the beekeeping sector in Africa. Let me also take this opportunity to thank the Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in particular the federal ministry of Agriculture, for hosting us.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
AU-IBAR is a specialized technical office of the African Union Commission that provides leadership for the development of Africa’s animal resources. AU-IBAR is mandated to provide support and coordinate member state and REC efforts in development and utilization of animal resources with the aim to contribute to enhanced wellbeing and prosperity of the people of Africa.
To this end AU-IBAR in partnership with icipe and with the support of the European Union is implementing a project “African Reference Laboratory and Satellite Stations for the Management of Pollinator Bee Diseases and Pests for Food Security.” With the objective to improve bee products and pollination services through reduced incidence of bee diseases and pests, enhanced markets access, and bee health institutional environment
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
The bee is one of the most economically important insects, producing honey and pollinating crops that account for more than 35% of global food production. With insect pollination valued at billions of dollars each year and other millions generated by the annual honey sales, this clearly shows that bees are the most significant contribution to agriculture production. That means any decline in bee populations can lead to reduced pollination and this may, in turn, have economic and ecological consequences. It could reduce the diversity of wild plants and disturb the stability of the wider ecosystem, crop production, food security and human welfare.
Distinguished Guest, Ladies and Gentlemen
The African Union, in reviewing 10 years of implantation of the comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Program (CAADP) declared 2014 the year of Agriculture and Food Securityin Africa. Consolidating the achievements of a decade of CAADP implementation and addressing the gaps, the Malabo Declaration on Accelerated Agricultural Growth and Transformation for Share prosperity and Improved Livelihoods was adopted at the Twenty Third Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, in June 2014. This agenda articulates a ten year vision for agricultural led growth.
Despite having consistently demonstrated some of the strongest growth within the agricultural sector over the past few years, the animal resources sector did not receive the attention it warranted in the first decade of CAADP implementation. In recognition of this untapped latent potential, the Executive council of the African Union (AU), on the recommendations of the African Ministers responsible for Livestock, mandated the African Union commission and Regional Economic Communities (RECS) to coordinate the efforts of all the relevant stakeholders to formulate a policy framework and reform strategy for fisheries and aquaculture in Africa and a livestock Development strategy for African (LiDeSA), covering a period of about 2o years.
They set an agenda for all sector actors to coordinate their efforts and to attract increased investment so that the sector potential for food security, poverty reduction, employment and economic growth can be realized.
This Political and policy landscape is an open door for the honeybee sector which is grossly underdeveloped with a huge under harnessed potential. We have only begun to exploit the potential for honey production, and are yet to embark on gasping on the opportunity that pollination services have for Africa. Bees and other insect’s pollinators are responsible for over 70 percent of all free pollination services world-wide with a monetary value estimated at over 164 billion euros by year. We have to begin to value these services and to translate these services into monetary terms in relation to crop biodiversity to the benefit of our farmers and economies.