Ghana could earn up to $2 billion a year from beekeeping, say honey producers Featured

By Isabella Agyakwa October 18, 2019 1372 3 comments

Members of the Federation of Ghana Beekeepers Associations (FGBA) have urged the government, as part of its industrialisation agenda, to consider paying attention to the beekeeping and honey industry.

This, the FGBA notes, not only holds the potential to earn the country large amounts of foreign exchange, but can also create hundreds of thousands of jobs across the country.

According to the Association, even though about 70 per cent of Ghana's vegetation supports beekeeping, more than 60 per cent of honey consumed in the country is sourced from foreign markets.

This is because of local producers’ inability to meet the increasing demand for honey, due to inadequate resources and inputs. The problem stems from an absence of credit schemes and policy direction to drive the industry to produce in commercial quantities.

Supply vs demand

In an interview with the Daily Statesman, the executive director of the FGBA, Solomon Wameke, projected that Ghana can earn about US$2 billion annually, on average, if the right policies are put in place.

According to him, while there is increasing demand for honey in Europe and Asia, production is still low, with local players nowhere near able to supply enough to meet the demand.

Fertile environment

“We have evidence about the Turkish, Americans, Chinese, among other foreign nationals, coming into Ghana to demand large quantities that we cannot supply, even though we have the vegetation that is readily available for production,” Mr Wameke said.

In 2011, the European Union certified Ghana to join other African countries accredited to export honey to the EU market.

This implies that the international market for honey has expanded and Ghana is expected to help meet the supply gap by increasing the volume of trade and quality of production.

Slashed orders

Eight years after certification, not one tonne of honey from Ghana has entered the EU market, with local producers even struggling to meet local demand, he said.

Following a big demand for honey in Turkey, a Turkish company, Helal Aricilik, arrived in Ghana in 2014 requesting a total of 150,000 tonnes of honey per shipment.

However, due to capacity challenges, the demand was slashed to 10,000 tonnes per quarter.

“We also have a pending order to supply 40,000 tonnes of honey to Turkey every year,” he added.

Pussyfooting

Mr Wameke said that while the FGBA has been selfless and patriotic in training over 3,000 people in beekeeping, none has adopted the profession because “we have not been able to provide them with the necessary inputs”.

“Again, we have a mutual agreement with African Beekeeping Ltd in Kenya to help expand the knowledge of beekeeping in Ghana,” he said.

He also expressed concern that the chief executive of Ghana Exim Bank has said that honey is not being packaged well in Ghana and offered assurances that efforts are being made to bring down a packaging company from Slovenia to fill this gap.

Irony

“Our honey is sourced from professional beekeepers across the country and is of high quality. We can also produce honey in cubes and in powdered form.
“Sadly, our factory [which trades under the brand name Lifetime] is currently closed, owing to lack of funding to procure proper packaging units to enhance operations,” Mr Wameke said.

“Honey made in Ghana and Africa is far better than honey made in Asia, America and Europe because they feed their bees with sugar solution or other syrups during winter.
“Ghanaian bees feed only on flowers and, therefore, produce organic honey.
“Currently in Ghana, we have available all these packaging systems. There are companies packaging honey in glass jars, plastic jars and in sachets as well.
“We are making honey the best alternative to sugar and affordable,” he said.

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Last modified on Friday, 18 October 2019 09:36

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