Stakeholders restate commitment to youth participation in Apiculture

405

The Youth for Apiculture Initiative (YFAI) and stakeholders have restated commitment to raise awareness to foster youth participation in apiculture.

The group made this known in an hybrid event to mark the 2024 World Bee Day and 5th Nigeria Youth Beekeepers Summit, organized by YFAI in collaboration with Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC) on Monday.

The World Bee Day is celebrated annually on May 20, to raise awareness of the importance of bees as pollinators, the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development.

Apiculture is both the science and art of raising honey bees. YFAI is Nigeria’s first and largest youth-based apiculture organisation.

It comprises of a network of groups and individuals, who are passionate about apiculture development in Nigeria and Africa at large, with a vision to upscale youth participation in Apiculture

Noting the importance of youths’ engagement in bee-keeping, the YFAI President, Mr Kingsley Nwaogu, harped on creating awareness of apiculture among young people.

“We have been celebrating this day since 2018, thanks to the efforts of the Government of Slovenia, with the support of Apimondia, that led the UN General Assembly to declare May 20, as World Bee Day.

“In recognition of the pivotal role the youth can play in addressing challenges bees and other pollinators are facing, World Bee Day 2024 focuses on the theme “Bee engaged with Youth”.

“This theme highlights the importance of involving young people in beekeeping and pollinator conservation efforts, recognizing them as the future stewards of our environment.

“This year’s campaign aims to raise awareness among youth and other stakeholders about the essential role of bees and other pollinators in agriculture, ecological balance, and biodiversity preservation,” Nwaogu said.

According to him, by engaging young people in beekeeping activities, educational initiatives, and advocacy efforts, we can inspire a new generation of environmental leaders and empower them to make a positive impact on the world.

“Fostering more diverse agricultural systems and reducing reliance on toxic chemicals can facilitate increased pollination.

“ This approach can improve food quality and quantity, benefiting both human populations and the ecosystem,” the president said.

Dr Ishiyaku Mohammed, BOT chairman YFAI, however, noted that youths were the future of apiculture, as they played a pivotal role in its growth.

We gather to celebrate the significance of apiculture in our lives and the crucial role our youths play in its development.

“As we all know, beekeeping is not just about honey; it is a sustainable livelihood, a passion, and a vital contribution to our ecosystem.

“Our youth have the energy, creativity, and innovation to take beekeeping to new heights, and it is our responsibility to empower them.

“Since its establishment in 2018, YFai has been at the forefront of engaging youth in apiculture.

“Our founding president, Mr Yusuf Adeyemo, now Director General, and his team keyed into YFai vision to create an organisation driven by the youth, for the youth.

YFai has indeed been a pacesetter in engaging youth from its inception, in line with this year’s theme, and we have made significant strides in engaging youths in apiculture,” Mohammed said.

In addition, he noted that, YFAI had successfully trained and supported numerous young beekeepers.

“ Our Nigerian Honey repository serves as raw materials for the ongoing promotion of the establishment of Nigeria Honey Bee Village project, is a testament to our commitment to scaling beekeeping to a sustainable commercial level.

“However, we cannot do this alone. We need the support of governments, organisations, and communities to create an enabling environment for our youth to thrive,” he added.

On his part, Mr Yusuf Adeyemo, Director, Apimondia Africa Regional Commission, and immediate past president of YFAI, also emphasized the importance of youth engagement in bee-keeping.

“We have successfully engaged over 1,000 youths in apiculture and are committed to empowering them further.

“I want to emphasize the significance of empowering our youth in apiculture and the crucial role we all play in creating an enabling environment for their participation.

“Through YFai, we aim to create a Nigeria Honey Village, where the youth can learn, grow, and showcase their beekeeping skills.

“We envision scaling beekeeping to a sustainable commercial level, creating jobs and economic opportunities for our youth,” Adeyemo said.

According to him, Beyond honey, we must explore the vast potential of other bee products like pollen, propolis, and venom.

“Let us work together to open local markets and create demand for these products, ensuring a diversified and thriving beekeeping industry.

“To achieve this, we need, governments to provide policies and funding support, organizations to offer training and resources, communities to embrace and encourage youth participation and mentors to guide and share their expertise.

“Let us join forces to create a buzzing apiculture sector, where our youth can flourish and contribute to Nigeria’s economic growth and environmental sustainability,” he added.

NAN / Foluke Ibitomi

Comments are closed.