Many people hardly go into bee farming but a farmer, Mr. Abudu Inanigie, who ventured into it after his retirement from the civil service said bee-keeping is a profitable business.
Abudu, who has his bee farms in Ekperi, Auchi and Ikabigbo communities, said many people are not engaged in bee farming due to ignorance or lack of knowledge about it.
“Bee-keeping is being practised in Edo State and it is gaining recognition because of the value attached to it. We now have beekeepers, association,” he said.
He said in bee farming, one needs a piece of land, beehive (box), a stand as well as bee jackets for harvesting.
“Constructing a beehive costs between N8,000 and N9,500; the iron stand costs between N4000 and N5000 and sheet of zinc to cover the box to prevent rain from entering inside. So in all, one beehive costs between N14,000 and N15,000,” he explained.
Mr Inanigie said a beehive is about three feet high and that depending on the colony of bees in the box, a farmer can get about 21 litre from one beehive. A litre now goes for about N4000.
“If the colony in the beehive is small, one can get five litres or more,” he explained.
According to him, farmers can harvest honey three times in a season, adding that there is economic value in bee farming.
Abudu noted that the wrong perception that bees can kill is driving people away from venturing into bee-keeping.
“Theft and insecurity of the bees is also another challenge because people often go into the farm and harvest the honey thereby causing economic loss to the owner.
“Also, the thieves use fire to burn the bees and harvest it before it matures. But there is no need to use fire because you don’t need to kill them during harvest so that they can commence fresh production.
“Using fire during harvest decreased the population of the colony of the bees thereby affecting yield.”
Another challenge, he said, has to do with getting land where to mount the beehives, noting that “it is easier if a farmer is doing it in his community where land is available and secure.
“Once you get the land, all you need is to fence it and get the boxes attached to trees if one can’t construct a stand. But if you don’t have land, you have to acquire one and land is very costly these days,” the farmer noted.
Abudu, who has a bee farm at Auchi and Ekperi, said beekeeping is a profitable business, adding that “we have customers but we can’t meet their demand because honey farmers are very few.”
Speaking on loans and grants from the government, Abudu said he is aware that there are facilities for farmers but they lamented that they are difficult to access.
“So, the government should register bee farmers in the states, access their farms to ensure that the real farmers access the grant. But now, such grants or loans are not getting to the real farmers.
“I have a farm at Auchi and Ekperi where I train people on bee-keeping to help them set up their farms. I have acquired land in my community, Ikabigbo, for bee farming.
Daily Trust however learnt that a litre of honey is between N3,000 and N3,500; four litres N13,000 and 15,000; while 20 litres is between N25,000 and N30,000.