Updated: Nov 15, 2019
Apiculture or beekeeping as the name implies is the rearing or culture of bees for the sake of profit. The bee colonies are kept in hives where they produce products such as honey and beeswax or for the provision of pollination services or other value-added products, which are marketed by the producers.
Although there are about 25 honey bee species of economic importance occurring in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Africa the most commonly utilized honey bee species in Nigeria are Apis mellifera and Apis Mellifera adansonii.
Honey bees are beneficial economic insects, as they produce honey and pollinate crops. Honey production has been identified as one of the most profitable agricultural enterprises in many parts of the world, with so much use and consequently in demand that it can be a "money spinner". It is a source of foreign exchange for those that export honey and beeswax.
Honey produced by bees contain about 80% of sugar, readily absorbed by the body and of a healthy source. Extensively used in pharmaceutical and beverage industries as pleasant-tasting food component, sweetener for food and drinks, useful in the treatment of superficial wounds, treatment of sore or throat complaints. And in some countries of the world, honey is used to make beer or wine.
Presently in Nigeria, according to Mbah (2012), honey production is still at its developmental stage, though its awareness was created far back as the early 1950s. Furthermore, bee farming or apiculture as a commercial venture is still mostly unexplored in Nigeria in large-scale production, and the country meets a domestic demand for honey mostly by importation from producer countries, and locally by bee hunters.
Beekeeping as an enterprise has a lot of potentials for investors in Nigeria. It is a profitable and viable complementary activity for people, requires very little investment and also produces quick returns and high income.
One might be considering going into the business of bee farming. However, it is essential to be aware of the challenges of running the business in Nigeria. One of which is finance. Beekeeping although less capital intensive, still has lack of funding as the most outstanding challenge against large-scale beekeeping among the beekeepers. Beekeeping is still operating in mostly old traditional ways in Nigeria, implying the need for modernization which would require financing.
Also, the bee farming business in Nigeria is comprised mostly of small farmers who face situations of low productivity, ineffective collection, processing, and preservation method as well as management that are below standards, which results in reduced quality of products. The insufficient production attributed to some of the people's attitude of not taking bee farming as a form of vocation which prevents them from accessing its numerous benefits. Bee farming should not be so because the aim of any apiculturist aims to produce quality honey or beeswax in the maximum quantity possible. However, the productivity of the apiculture business is dependent on the level of efficiency of the methods and maintenance of the apiculturist.
Some examples of modern beekeeping are the Top-bar, Warré and Langstroth hives, which do not require a large area of land, intensive maintenance and with low start-up investment. They are improved techniques in beekeeping, developed over the years, with the adoption of technologies and improved management practices that go a long way in improving the quality and quantity of the extracted honey.
In Nigeria, apiculture is a profitable agribusiness as a result of the relatively fewer producers. Although the business faces its unique challenges, they can be mitigated by applying the right knowledge and associating with fellow farmers who can offer valuable advice based on their knowledge or past experiences. Anyone interested in going into the apiculture business needs to first, ask other apiculturists for advice, belong to an association or hire a consultant to conduct the feasibility and viability studies necessary for going into the business of apiculture in Nigeria.
REFERENCES and Further Reading
Segeren, P. (1997). Beekeeping in the Tropics, Agrodok 32 Publication, the Netherlands.
Extension Research Liaison Service. (1995). Beekeeping Technologies for Nigerian Farmers. Extension Bulletin Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria.
Ogbari C. C. & Ama-Ogbari. (2014). Apiculture as an Aspect of Nigeria's Economic History Knowledge Review, (30) 1
Famuyide, O.O, Adebayo, O, Owese, T, Azeez, F.A, Arabomen, O, Olugbire, O.O & Ojo, D. (2014). Economic Contributions of Honey Production as a Means of Livelihood Strategy in Oyo State. International Journal Of Science And Technology 3(1)
Udofia, S. I. & Edet, I. B. (2016). Assessment of Adoption Level of Beekeeping Practices in Ikot Udo Abia Community, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Nigerian Journal of Agriculture, Food and Environment. 12(4):98-104
Mbah, S.O. (2012). Profitability of Honey Production Enterprise in Umuahia Agricultural Zone of Abia State, Nigeria. International Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development, Saat Futo, Vol 15 (3):1268-1274
Ja'Afar-Furo, M. R. (2007). Appraising the Perception of Farming Communities Towards Adoption of Apiculture as a Viable Source of Income in Adamawa State, Nigeria. Apiacta, 42: 1–15
Ayansola, A.A. (2012). An Appraisal of Apicultural Practices in Southwestern Nigeria. Journal Agricultural Science, 3(2): 79-84.
Anyaegbunam, H.N, Emereole, C.O. & Chukwu, G.O. (2006). Economics of Bee Honey Production in Abia State, Nigeria. Journal of Sustainable Tropical Agricultural Research (JOSTAR), Vol. 20: 27 – 30.
Abdullahi, A, Isekenegbe, J, & Mohammed U. S. (2014). Comparative Economic Analysis of Modern and Traditional Bee-Keeping in Lere and Zaria Local Government Areas of Kaduna State, Nigeria. International Journal Of Development And Sustainability,3(5): 990-999