A report by the Ghana Export-Import Bank (GEXIM) has shown that 60 percent of honey consumed or for manufacturing purposes in the country is sourced from foreign markets especially West Africa, Europe and Asia.
The report further identified that 70 percent of the country’s vegetation supports beekeeping operations but very little is used for the venture which the Federation of Ghana Beekeepers Association (FGBA) has estimated could fetch the country some US$1.5 billion annually if the sector is properly structured and incentivised.
Apart from the consumption of honey domestically, the pharmaceutical sector is one of the heaviest users but many of them are not able to source the product locally due to the inability of local producers to meet the standards associated. They are therefore pushed to source the sugar which has immense health benefits from Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Indian and some European countries.
Due to this, GEXIM is investing some GH¢12 million in a Beekeeping Development Project to improve the beekeeping industry and ensure large scale production and processing of honey into diverse derivatives.
The project is being implemented in two phases: phase one would involve a comprehensive feasibility and pilot of the recommendation whilst phase two would concentrate on the production and processing of honey by-products for local and international consumption. Also, the key findings from phase one would be implemented at phase two. The two phases are expected to be done in 24 months.
As a result, GEXIM is collaborating with a team from Slovenia on the project to acquire contemporary technology, customised for the Ghanaian environment.
A delegation from Slovenia, led by Alisa Mizigoj, Chief Executive Officer of Medex Slovenia, a food supplements firm built on bee products is in the country visiting beekeeping sites to come up with a report on how to support Ghana’s industry.
Lawrence Agyinsam, Chief Executive Officer of GEXIM, in his remarks at an event to launch the project said that: “Ghana is reported to be having one of the best climatic conditions suitable for beekeeping and honey.
Despite this condition, the country imports more than 600 tons of honey worth millions of cedis every month. Our mandate further allows us to collaborate with key players in the bee industry to develop the bee industry in Ghana into a world-class producer of bee-related products for export.
The ultimate aim is to improve and expand the beekeeping industry through large-scale production and processing into diverse derivatives. In Ghana, honey is produced in almost all the 16 regions of Ghana.
However, Nkwanta South in the Volta Region and Berekum in the Brong Ahafo Region have the largest numbers of beekeepers in the country. Considering the existing gap in demand for honey it is therefore imperative to channel enough resources to harness its potential to create economic and financial benefits towards foreign exchange generation and economic empowerment for the youth in our rural areas.”
He stressed that Ghana means business and GEXIM stands ready to support the development of the bee industry into a world class producer of bee-related products for export. “This initiative will no doubt help to empower all bee value chain players and to provide financial freedom, eradicate poverty and generally empower the vulnerable and deprived in our society.”
In her remark, the Slovenia team lead, Alisa Mizigoj, said that their aim is to understand the Ghanaian Industry and customise technologies which would help boost its fortunes.