Beekeeping: A roadmap to self-reliance amongst unemployed youth in Nigeria 

By: Maya Yemesi

Beekeeping in Nigeria

The unemployment rate in Nigeria is alarming. Over the last 4 years, there has been a notable increase in the number of retrenchment in workplaces, a rise in the number of university certificate holders with no job, and a decrease in the number of foreign investments that come into the country.  

With the increase in the number of unemployment in the country, there has been a lot of debates about the importance of an alternative source of income among job seekers amidst the unguaranteed approach by the government to tackle the major cause of high unemployment rate in the country. 

One of the many projects that can encourage self-reliance is beekeeping. In Nigeria today, beekeeping is becoming a well-known small scale business that many beekeepers depend on because of the income this venture generates. According to various professionals in the industry, products of beekeeping such as beeswax, royal jelly, and raw honey are one commodity experiencing an increase in demand in the country. 

According to the reports released last year, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Nigerian Export Promotion Council estimates that about two billion US dollar ($2bn) is spent on the importation of honey into the country every year. The $2bn was valued as the cost of 90% (about 360,000 tonnes) of the honey consumed in Nigeria. 

According to the above revelation, it indicates that Nigeria honey demand per annum is 400,000 tonnes, and only 10% is produced locally. This shows how huge the beekeeping market is in Nigeria.  

With the best global practices and government support, beekeeping can deliver a sizeable revenue for individuals that are interested in this business, considering the market size of honey in Nigeria. 

On the part of the government, as a sign of support for the need to improve beekeeping in Nigeria, which is aimed at bringing a drop in the high dependency on importation of honey into the country, the Nigerian Apiculture Platform was inaugurated. This platform is expected to foster the improvement and development of the beekeeping sector, by ensuring the right policies and legislation are in place. Besides, it will as well provide beekeepers and those at the processing end the needed inputs that will enhance the growth and development of the sector. 

Running a successful beekeeping business in Nigeria is beyond having a strong interest in this sector. All interested individuals must learn and understand all it takes to be a successful beekeeper. The act of beekeeping is unique, thus, there is a need for some distinct considerations. 

Over the years it has been reported that most of the “imported honey” is not honey in the actual sense. A series of tests had been carried out in the past. The result confirms that most of the honey imported into the country is sugar syrup and not honey, as claimed. The only way Nigeria can bridge the gap between the importation and wide distribution of this fake supply of honey is when they have more people involved in beekeeping locally.  

Although the beekeeping business looks lucrative and captivating, there is a need to learn from top professionals or experts in the field about what it takes to build a beehive, and as well manage the business.