Every encounter with the Managing Consultant/CEO of Jovana Farms, Prince Arinze Onebunne, has always proved to be intellectually elevating as his enthusiasm for agripreneurship remains a sustainably rewarding one. This time around he is urging the youth, retirees, farmers and other private individuals to embrace bee-keeping because it is highly lucrative.
Apart from the fact that honey and other resources generated from bees have huge economic potentials for export, bee-keeping is capable of looking after millions of jobless Nigerians.
Interestingly, Onebunne has taken his crusade across the country, not the least being the workshop on the economic potential of bee-keeping held at Omega Hotel, Abuja a few years back.
According to him, there is increasing awareness on the therapeutic values of honey. Unlike other therapies, it has no historical dwindling effectiveness on any disease. Since the advent of apitheraphy till date, the efficacy of honey in preventive and curative treatments has been on the increase as man’s knowledge of it increases. For more than a century now, there is no known side effect of honey as it is the case with all medicinal drugs.
Said he:“One of the most interesting aspects of honey – diet is in its effective way of correcting speedily, the malfunctioning of human organs. For example, should a pregnant woman indulge in honey diet and extend its use to her baby after child birth, she will realize the benefits, ranging from good health to eventually easy labor. Added to that are the remote chances of the child having malformed organs. “Since human beings first tasted honey, they have been fascinated by bees. Constantly, human raid the bee nests for their honey, but did not know about the bees.
Today, keeping bees can be a rewarding hobby or a full-time business. Specifically, he noted that: “People keep bees for various reasons, such as for honey, royal jelly, propolis, bee venom, pollen (bee-bread) and bees wax for their ability to serve as pollinators of crop, or simply for the fun of learning more about the interesting and complex insects. Bees use honey for their food and the excess they now pass out as waste into the combs which man collects and presses out as raw honey”.
It is worthy to note that thousands of people worldwide are processing this bee ‘waste’ into honey, exporting it and quietly making their millions by the day! There are no less than 50 exciting reasons why you should be involved in bee keeping business.
Almost anyone can keep bees. But the major problem with bee- keeping is that they have their ability to sting. To start the business, a bee-keeper must find a suitable location, gather the proper equipment like gloves, bee slit, hive tools, bee hat and veil, smoker, torch and bee brush. Others include ankle and wrist straps, plastic containers, centrifugal machine and finding a source of bees.
It is always a good idea to go for training or move closer to bee-keepers before one gets started. Bee keeping and grasscutter farming are the cheapest mini-livestock business one can think of. In both grasscutter farming and bee keeping one does not need to buy any food for them like one does in fish farming, poultry farming as well as pig farming.
In his words: “Overtime, people learn how to take care of honey bees, professional bee-keepers, recommend purchasing new hive boxes and frame or making your own in a standard size.
His admonition, borne out of years of experience is that only qualified personal should handle the bees, because of their aggressive nature, while some bee keepers use protective gear to spray the hive with soap and water. The water will penetrate the lungs and the soap will cut off their oxygen supply. If one is yet to develop an interest in bee keeping and he tends to believe that bees go out of their way to attack people- naturally the bees are aggressive, but only as a defensive measure. Bees have been known to chase people in a swarm for a long distance, but this only happens to people who have no prior knowledge or training for bee-keeping.
He explained further “Although, bees cannot talk, their language is vibration. For instance, to indicate distance to other bees in their hive, the scout bee uses a loud buzz and a demonstration dance. Wings vibrating swiftly as the bee dances in circle indicate that the find is within 150-200 metres of the hive. The directions in which the scout moves, and at what speed, helps communicate to the others where the source is located”.
“Honey bees need nectar, pollen and water to feed the hive and make their honey. Bee keepers hold the bees by moving the hives from time to time to areas where there is a good source of nectar and pollen.
“Once the hives are in place, some of the worker bees go out scouting. This is usually done within a radius of about 2 kilometres from the hives. The scouts then report back to the hive to indicate to other bees where the nectar and pollen source are to be found.
“However, a high quality product is important for every honey operation. Following key rules in the extraction process will determine honey quality. For example, excessive heat during extraction will darken the honey. Certain export marketers have minimum standards for distance and the level of sugar breakdown due to heat. To prevent heat damage to the honey, producers need to carefully manage the wax melting process and pay attention to storage condition”.
Bees contribute about $50billion annually to the economy of the United States and the country imports about one-third of these bee resources to substantiate its local production. Other countries such as Britain and Germany import bees and its resources which are used in different sector of the economy.
“There is no doubt, that this country has comparative advantage in the business of bee keeping than those developed countries because the nation’s climatic condition supports this highly lucrative business of bee keeping all year round” he said.
The organizer of Jovana Farms Nationwide Sensitization Agro- Seminar Project, Prince Arinze Onebunne, said that with the necessary assistance from the government, the good knowledge of bee keeping in the country has the capacity to sustain local production, consumption and assist in saving and earning huge foreign exchange for Nigeria.” He surmised. That is another food-for-thought for our policy makers.
Ayo Oyoze Baje