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Click here, to download ApiExpo Africa 2018 edition, Issue 027 of The African Honey Magazine

September marks the beginning of the Ethiopian New Year; September marks the peak of activity in the African honeybee industry every even year, when ApiExpo Africa occurs! So, we wish fellow Ethiopian compatriots a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year, this year (2018) being 2011 on their calendar!

Ethiopia is very symbolic as the Political Capital of Africa, the seat of African Union, which is increasingly becoming involved in the apiculture sector through AU-IBAR. Ethiopia also symbolizes the potential of the honeybee industry in Africa, being the leading honey producer in the continent, estimated at 46,000 tones in 2017. So, if they can, then all the other 54 AU Member States can, and that is the message we at ApiTrade Africa are echoing through ApiExpo Africa events.

As an organization, we are proudly marking 10 years since we took an extraordinarily bold, unprecedented step of providing private sector leadership to the honeybee industry in this continent of 'potentials'! Abuja marks a special place in our history, hosting the 6th edition of ApiExpo Africa, but also helping to reflect on what has been achieved over the last decade as well as defining the future we want for apiculture in Africa. ApiExpo Africa 2018 should therefore come up with ABUJA DECLARATION, which clearly defines African Apiculture Revolution (AFAR).

AFAR should entail the need and structure for stakeholders to work together, to invest all the necessary resources in the sector, to embrace the beekeepers, national, regional and international actors in transforming the potentials into reality! AFAR requires affirmative action for countries which are still lowly ranked in the apiculture sector. It should be aligned with AU's Vision 2063, and linked to national initiatives at country levels.

Nigeria is the 6thAU Member State to host ApiExpo Africa, implying that if every country is given an opportunity to host the event, which is what we plan to do, it will take another 98 years to complete the cycle across the continent's 55 countries! Uganda, the first ApiExpo Africa host, only qualifies to host it for the 2nd time after another 100 years from now! This is a phenomenal goal we want to achieve: promoting apiculture in every AU Member State through business and trade events. Certainly, this cannot happen if the policy and legislative environment is unconducive, if the stakeholders are not coordinated, if bees are still regarded as enemies, if bee health is not prioritized, and if our society don't value the pollination services of bees and its impact on food production.

We are soon signing a Memorandum of Understanding with Apimondia, the global apex apiculture movement, under which several actions will be taken to define Africa's position in the global beekeeping arena. We also foresee the need to be represented at the African Economic Platform (EAP), Africa's premier business platform which deliberates on how to accelerate Africa's economic transformation. The previous EAP, held in Port Louis in Mauritius in March 2017, discussed 4 key areas, namely: value chains promotion, expanding intra-African trade through Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA), competitiveness of the private sector, and youth empowerment & skilling. All these issues resonate with our efforts, and as such, the honeybee industry should be represented to not only provide its inputs but also generate relevant issues which can be discussed to benefit lower levels of the sector.

Finally, and yet very importantly, as the sector draws more non-African actors, we should think about the marginalized sections of society who are affected directly or indirectly by the activities of the value chain. Will it be like other agricultural value chains where the majority of the farmers are pushed to the periphery of the economics? Will it be like the mining and oil sectors, where the rural stakeholders are helplessly displaced? Is there room for people to think and care for those whose interests could be at stake!

I quietly hear a voice saying, “you are being pessimistic”. No. I am simply asking all of us to look ahead and carefully, and yet strategically, think far.We shall do that through AFAR!

Click here, your free electronic copy of the ApiExpo Africa 2018 edition, Issue 027 of The African Honey Magazine

Bosco Okello


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