THE Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, on Monday, drew the attention of Nigerians to the fake imported honey from China, adding that most of them were produced with sugar syrup which poses danger to human health.
Ogbeh disclosed this while receiving delegation of Nigeria Apiculture Platform, NAP, who won the hosting right for the country of 2018 APIEXPO (Apiculture Expo) in Nigeria and assured payment for hosting right fee of $50, 000.
Ogbeh commended NAP for their relentless efforts to win the hosting rights and said it was the right time for such big expo to host the African stakeholders and investors from all over the world in 2018.
According to him, “The payment of the hosting fee within 10 days is short, but we have to host it. We will pay the $50, 000, but should extend the deadline for us because we have to get the money out by following due process and get it as quickly as possible within a month or two. We will support you and the industry as government.
“We abandoned agriculture in this country for a very long time and today, things are very tough. We became importers and not producers, and so we import everything including honey.
“There is no harm in importing but if it consumes 80 per cent of what you earn. The import bill of honey from China is about $100 million a year. Some of that honey is not real honey. Many are made up of sugar syrup.
“It is time to take the business of agriculture seriously. Let us eat what we produce and produce what we eat. I do not see why Tanzania, Botswana, Rwanda, Kenya and others in East Africa make so much money from honey exports, and we can’t. I am happy that you are now taking up the challenge. You honey farmers are the heroes for keeping bees.”
Speaking earlier, Dr Dooshima Kwange of the ministry’s Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services said, the benefits of hosting of the expo include transfer of new technologies, modernisation of the industry in Nigeria, exposure to global platforms, job creation, generation of foreign exchange, and tourism development.
The Managing Director, BARG Natural Honey, Yakman Wuyep further added that, “the honey market in Nigeria is very big and also to host APIEXPO 2018 is a huge opportunity to develop and expand the industry in Nigeria. The expo will bring more investors and people to see what we have here in Nigeria and basically improve the economy.”