The United Nations Staff, One Per cent for Development Fund, has donated N3,586,000 to Beekeeping Extension Society, an NGO, to train and empower 300 beekeepers in Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states.
Malam Idris Mohammed-Barau, President of the society, made this known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Wednesday in Zaria.
Mohammed-Barau said the donation was to train and provide tools for 100 beekeepers each from Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states, to scale up honey production and reduce unemployment and poverty in the states.
According to him, the one year grant also covers the provision of monitoring and evaluation services for the beneficiaries in the three states.
Mohammed-Barau said the project was part of the measures to ameliorate security challenges in the states.
According to him, the society, with support from some other donor agencies, has trained more than 4,000 beekeepers in Kaduna State alone, and an additional 20,000 beekeepers across the country.
He noted that Nigeria, with one of the best honeys in West Africa because of the country’s good vegetation and climate and other favourable factors, unfortunately had few beekeepers.
Mohammed-Barau said with rising indices of unemployment in the country, beekeeping could generate employment and income for keepers.
According to him, a litre of honey cost about N3000 to N3,500, and six other bye products of the honey bees are used for pharmaceutical and cosmetics products.
He therefore urged the government to embark on establishing beekeeping at local governments’ level to reduce unemployment rate in the country.
“If for instance Kaduna State can take at least 100 unemployed youths across the 23 local governments in the state, at the end of the day you will have 2,300.
“If these 2,300 youth were provided with an average of 10 beehives, adequate training and other beekeeping tools, each participant can produce nothing less than 200 litres of honey per annum.
“When you multiply 200 litres by 2,300, it will be a lot of honey in the state. Through that government can establish honey collection, packaging and marketing centres,’’ he said.
NAN recalls that The ‘UN Staff one per cent for Development Fund’ was created in Geneva in 1977 to make micro-grants to community projects in developing countries available.
The Fund is an association comprising about 100 current and former staff members that is independent of the UN and its agencies. (NAN)