The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) says it has trained no fewer than 1,200 bee farmers on bee-keeping pollination services.
Mr David Musa, Team Leader, USAID Bee-Keeping Pollination Project, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday, that the beneficiaries were drawn from eight states.
The training came under USAID’s Maximising Agricultural Revenue and Key Enterprises in Targeted Sites II (MARKETS II) programmes.
“MARKETS II is a USAID five-year project aimed at promoting smallholder farmers’ access to increased income, ready markets, better inputs, adequate finance and better water and pesticides management.’’
Musa, who is also the Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Apiculture Platform, said that the training was geared toward empowering women to provide pollination services to target value chain commodities such as cocoa and soyabeans.
He mentioned identified Kaduna, Niger, Benue, Ondo, Cross River, Imo, Abia and Edo as the benefitting states.
Musa said the interventions was designed to achieve coordination, integration of women through user-friendly beekeeping technology, promote eco-diversity balance through use of bees, increase food production and food security.
The team leader said the programme was also targeted at boosting food security through generation of honey and boosting plant crop yields through pollination service delivery.
Musa said that the programme, which was launched in 2012 would be wounding down in 2017.
“The key objective of the bee project is to increase bee hive products and food security through prevention of bee pests and diseases.
“The key tool for achieving this is establishing well-organised, verifiable and traceable bee-keeping producer groups or clusters that can be easily positioned for improved outputs and community impact.
“Social research has revealed that the most accountable sector of rural African society is also one of her most vulnerable, women.
“This is why development funding is prioritising gender-specific and women-driven economic activities.
“Pollinators numbering 330 were also trained to form at least 30 well-organised beekeepers’ cooperative groups, strengthen and mentor these groups to produce honey and hive products,’’ he said.
NAN reports that USAID, under MARKETS II, also executed an agricultural productivity programme in 26 states to boost nutrition and food security on seven value chains of rice, cocoa, cassava, sorghum, maize, soyabeans and aquaculture.