The country spends N30.5bn every year to import honey from China, the Federal Government has said.
It also stated that some of the imported products were not real honey as they often come out after careful analysis as sugar syrup.
The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, said this at the headquarters of the ministry in Abuja on Tuesday while receiving the ApiExpo flag after Nigeria won the rights to host Africa and the rest of the world in 2018.
The Apiexpo is the apex apicultural (beekeeping and honey production) exhibition in Africa and it is the most popular business and learning event in the apiculture sector on the continent.
Ogbeh said, “You import products from whatever source and you then find yourself shipping out your resources to sustain other economies, while back home you have unemployment and poverty. The import bill on honey from China is about $100m a year.
“Now, some of that imported honey is not honey, for when you put them in your fridge and check them in the morning, you’ll see some white substance at the bottom. Which is a clear evidence that you are taking sugar syrup.”
He added, “A lot of what is going on in the country today, which we haven’t seem to notice, is what I call self-poisoning. We buy a lot of food from outside of very doubtful quality, things we really don’t know much about. And if you’ve observed, you’ll notice that we’ve been having people of below 20 years complaining of kidney failures and liver diseases.
“And we really can’t tell where these things are from. So, it is time to take this whole business of agriculture more seriously. Let’s be sure of what we eat. Let’s produce what we eat and eat what we produce. I don’t see why Tanzania, Botswana, Rwanda and all those East African countries should be making so much money from honey export, while we just rely on imports for satisfying our needs here in Nigeria. I think it is something we should bring to a halt as quickly as possible.”
On the objectives of hosting ApiExpo, the Assistant Director, Commodity Certification/Trade Standards and Measures, Department of Veterinary and Pest Control Services, FMARD, Dr. Chinyere Akujobi, said it would serve as a catalyst for new and improved programmes and interventions to support the development of apiculture at all levels of the value chain.