The Ghana Beekeepers Association (GBA) has requested for a GH¢1.62 billion stimulus package from the government to implement its five-year development programme to sustain the bee keeping industry in Ghana.
Under the programme, the association intends to inject about 480,000 new bee hives which will translate into 3.6 million kilogrammes of honey over the five years period.
The Executive Secretary of GBA, Mr Oscar Nartey Adjabeng told the Graphic Business in Accra that the programme would also help the country rake in GH¢1.8 billion revenue every five years.
He said the association had subsequently forwarded a proposal to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA) for consideration, saying when approved, the programme would help revamp the ailing bee and honey industry in the country.
“We are making this request against the backdrop of the existing demands from both within the local and international market. From Turkey, alone there is a demand for well over 150,000 metric tonnes of honey per month,” he added.
He explained that the country’s present production was woefully inadequate to even satisfy its local demand, hence the need for traders to import more to augment the market.
“If we are to be empowered to take advantage of the demand from Turkey alone, that would mean a monthly revenue of GH¢ 1.8 million,” he said.
Bee and honey council
As the umbrella body, Mr Adjabeng said the association had also proposed for the establishment of a bee and honey council to regulate the bee and honey industry.
“We also propose that beekeeping should be integrated into the Forestry Commission’s agenda to help protect the reserves and to help prevent trespasses by allowing beekeepers to plant their bee hives in these forest reserves,” he added.
“Currently, there is no such strong institution monitoring the production of honey in Ghana. All works on honey that are made public are mostly from non-governmental organisations or private work pieces. Yet, reviews of most of them suggest there is quiet ahead-way for honey production across the country,” he said.
This, Mr Adjabeng said, was because there were presently no governmental policy that specifically regulates and promotes the activities of apiculture in the country.
As a result, he said the sector, which held a huge potential to elevate a significant portion of the population from abject poverty, was left scrambling.
“Individuals have struggled in their own capacities to hold the front till today and we believe that with the coming on board of the government, the Ghana Beekeepers Association which is the umbrella body that coordinates beekeeping in Ghana and has about 29 regional, district and community based associations under its ambit can ably revamp bee-keeping from its present dwindling fortunes and again massively improve on crop yield as a result of pollination by the honey bee,” he said.
Engaging the youth
Mr Adjabeng urged the unemployed youth to venture into bee keeping because it was lucrative and easy to manage.
“The initial cost involved in the project is the preparation of the bee hives and there is no application of any agricultural inputs or methods in the project,” he said.
“There are much untapped employment opportunities in the production and processing of honey which has been neglected for so many years now in Ghana because of lack of attention and investment,” he said.
“Honey is one of the most important products the world is demanding today and Ghana has a conducive environment to make it a major export product and to actively engage the youth especially in an attempt to create jobs and thus reducing the spate of rural urban drift,” he added.