The Edo Bee Keepers Cooperative, has called for massive investment in honey production and its value chain to boost foreign earnings for the country.
Some members of the cooperative made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Benin.
Mr Eugene Odoh, Secretary of the cooperative, said that bee keeping was a lucrative business, adding that if fully harnessed, would generate billions of dollars for the country.
Odoh, who is also the founder, Immaculate Honey Nigeria Resources, said that there was a vast market for honey, as well as its value chain, both locally and internationally.
“The business has not been harnessed, the demand for honey still exceeds supply, meaning that a lot of investment needs to be made in the sub sector to meet demand.
“For now, we are limited in our ability to produce for export because we are still producing at micro and small scale levels.
“My company has been in existence since 2009 and we have been doing Bee Keeping, but we have not gone into export because we are still trying to meet local demands,’’ he said.
On his part, Mr Emmanuel Ehimika, the managing director, Agronadol Enterprise, urged the government to support beekeepers with soft loans, in a bid to expand their current level of production.
“A litre of honey sells for between N3,000 to N4,000, which is more expensive than a litre of petrol.
“A person with 10 beehives cannot produce more than 100 litres of honey per production season. But if you have 5,000 hives, you will be producing about 50, 000 litres per season.
“So, we want expansion of our businesses through soft loans, as well as protection of the forest where we do our businesses.
“There is already a global demand for honey and we can key into that. The non-oil sector has been neglected for too long. Honey has been neglected, but it is a sector which can engage many value chain players.
“There is also the problem of low foreign reserves in the country. The banks can no longer give businesses foreign exchange for importation. We have to look inward as a country and generate foreign earnings from honey.’’ stated.