NIGERIA – The Nigerian Export Promotion Council’s (NEPC) Director General, Mr. Segun Awolowo, has stated the country is capable of generating at least US$10 billion annually from trade of honey.

Speaking during a honey production and packaging for export workshop in Cross River State, Awolwo said the demand for honey and other hive products was on the rise globally hence more investments should be channelled into the sector.

He said that honey production and its export potential was a quick win product that should be explored for intensive development and promotion.

“According to the USAID bee keeping pollination project, Nigeria can generate over 10 billion dollars from local and international trade in honey and other hive products as domestic consumption currently stands at 380,000 metric tonnes.

“On the other hand, global monetary value of trade in honey alone stands at about US$4.5 million. Apart from the present high and still growing demand, bee products are highly priced globally, especially in non-producer countries,” he said.

Nigeria currently produces about 15,000 tonnes of honey and 2,500 tonnes of bee wax annually, less than three per cent of her potential 800,000 and 70,000 tonnes respectively.

“Nigeria farmers generally suffer a lot from deficiencies in production, storage, handling and packaging which makes their output unfit for the export market.

“This is why there is need to enhance their capacity to produce high quality crops that would attract premium prices in the international market with a view to boosting their export in line with the focus of zero -oil plan,” he added.

Awolwo stated that NEPC is will continue to support farmers and other stakeholders in the sector as part of its commitment to export diversification.

“It is our belief that bee product, by their production and export potentials, belong to this category of quick -win products that should be for intensive development and promotion.

“Cross River State by its agro-ecology that is quite suited for honey, the production of bee product such as natural honey bee, wax bee pollen and many others,” he said.

Meanwhile, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has closed operations of a honey manufacturing facility in Abuja over hygiene compliance queries.

NAFDAC ordered a recall of the products and applied appropriate sanctions on the company which packages the sweetener under the brand ‘Upon the Rock Honey.

“NAFDAC wishes to reassure the general public that all efforts are continually being made to assure the safety, quality and wholesomeness of processed foods through regular routine monitoring of production and distribution facilities” the regulator said.