The Vice-Chancellor of the Federal University of Technology, Akure, FUTA, Professor Joseph Fuwape as described Apiculture (Bee keeping) as a viable commercial venture that can turn one’s fortune around. He stated this while declaring open the 3rd South West Beekeepers summit recently held at the Hilltop Auditorium of the Institution. Speaking on the theme of the summit: Apiculture as an Enterprise: Prospects and Challenges in Nigeria, he said there could not have been a better period to consider such theme based on the entrepreneurship stance of the Federal and State governments to encourage a large number of unemployed youths who are graduates of tertiary institutions on empowerment and self-reliance. Professor Fuwape who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development), Professor Philip Oguntunde said “Apiculture or Beekeeping is the management of bees in a hive for commercial purpose. Domestication of honey bees in a modern way has in addition to creating means of livelihood for practitioners of the trade also helped in the conservation of the bees. Also, financial analysts have revealed that honey production is profitable and economically viable”. He encouraged young graduates and others, including retirees to consider venturing into Bee keeping as a means of livelihood. The Dean, School of Agriculture and Agricultural Technology, (SAAT), Professor Taiwo Amos and Head, Department of Crop, Soil and Pest Management (CSP), Professor Omotayo Adekayode said Beekeeping has a lot of potential. Sharing his experience in Beekeeping, Professor Amos said “when at a time I made Beekeeping a hobby, as a part time bee keeper, I realized it was a project that could comfortably be transformed into a viable commercial venture requiring relatively little capital outlay and which production is not greatly hampered by power outage”. He encouraged young graduates and others, including retirees to consider venturing into Bee keeping as a means of livelihood. On how to attain high production level, Professor Amos said “a high production level can be achieved and sustained if practitioners are given the necessary education and leave out the fear of honey bee sting. This will reduce production being solely in the hands of few honey hunters and traditional bee farmers who use traditional harvesting and processing techniques that often lead to poor quality”. Speaking on the health impact of consuming honey, the Head of Department, CSP, Professor Adekayode said “the realization of the harmful effects of heavy consumption of sugar which include obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, skin aging, cellular aging, fatty liver among others have made people to resort to the optional use of honey as sweetener”. Adekayode assured bee keeper of the high economic potential of the venture. He said “the beauty of this is the possibility of transforming this supposed hobby to a profitable business bearing in mind its non-dependability on electricity”. Both Professors Amos and Adekayode bemoan low level of honey consumption in Nigeria.
They said “previous research has revealed Argentina, China and United States of America (USA) as major producers of honey while consumption is generally low in developing countries with industrialized ones like Germany, Japan, USA and UK as major consumers”. Professor Adekayode suggested the need to form an association that can be organizing Conferences that will accommodate both the academics and the general practitioners in bee farming. He said such will bring out research output that will benefit would-be bee keepers. Delivering a goodwill message, the Provost, Federal College of Agriculture, Akure, Dr. Emmanuel Moyinjesu emphasized the importance of unity among agricultural practitioners. According to him, bees are powerful and move in groups. He reiterated the economic potential in bee keeping. In a brief remark, Chairman, Local Organizing Committee (LOC) of the Conference, Professor Tom Ofuya encouraged Nigerians, particularly the youth to go into beekeeping as a profitable venture. He stressed the importance of honey consumption to human health and living.