14 October 2004

Nigeria: Livestock Production Can Be Enhanced By Beekeeping -- Fabunmi

A workshop on how to boost productivity in livestock industry with Bee products put together by Feed Nigeria Initiative (FENI) and the Bee Conservation Project (BCP) was held in Lagos weekend with the Project Executive, FENI, Mr Adeola Soetan, saying that the workshop is important as they have come to realize that Bee products can boost the productivity and profitability of livestock farmers through the perspectives of animal nutrition, disease control and meat processing.

He added "Honey and Bee products have proved effective as feed additives for animals and birds to increase their life span, weight, rate of reproduction, speed up growth and improve egg and milk production. Animal diseases can also be treated effectively with bee products thus eliminating the use of chemical antibiotics, which pose danger to human health globally. In addition, the antioxidant, anti-fungal and anti-microbial properties of bee products offer wide scope for application in food technology including meat processing and packaging."

In a paper presented on the Linkage of Beekeeping to Optimum Production in Livestock industry, Mr. Tunde Fabunmi, Executive Director, Bee Conservation Project told participants that Beekeeping, otherwise known as apiculture is not only a core part of agriculture but also has positive effect on the other forms of farming including poultry.

He added that Bee and its products can significantly improve productivity' in livestock industry through the perspectives of animal nutrition, disease control, and meat processing.

On how Bees and its products can be of benefits to livestock production, Mr. Fabunmi disclosed that numerous animal studies and clinical trials on the nutritional and hormonal content of honey, royal jelly and propolis confirmed that they can be used to fatten animals and birds. "For instance fruit flies when fed with royal jelly underwent an enormous increase in size. In addition, their rate of reproduction and life span also increased dramatically. Similar results were obtained with mice. chicken rooster and pigs. Royal jelly added to the diets of these animals significantly increased the life span, sexual activity and fertility of all groups as opposed to animals fed their normal diets. Egg production in the chickens fed royal jelly actually doubled."

While noting that disease can greatly undermine productivity in the livestock sector, as poultry in particular is susceptible to infections with high morbid rate. "The bitter experience of pig farmers due to epidemic of swine fever some years back underscores the need for effective disease control mechanism in the livestock industry. Unknown to livestock farmers and veterinary doctors. the medicinal properties and effects of bee products can also be employed for the care and treatment of animals."

He added "A number of veterinary applications of bee products have been scientifically evaluated through research studies and clinical trials. In other words, the same types of diseases, which affect human physical and energetical bodies can be treated also in mammals like dogs, cats, rabbits, cow, sheep, horses or in birds like chicken, turkey, ducks, and others. For instance, honey has been scientifically documented as being effective in treating mastitis in dairy cows and goats. The standard treatment is the introduction of antibiotics into the teat canal of the infected udder, but milk has to be withheld from use until clear of antibiotic residue."

Citing authorities that have done researches on the benefits of Bees production to livestock , the Executive Director , Bee Conservation project disclosed that processing of animal products for marketing can also determine the fortunes or otherwise of livestock farmers. "For instance, if the poultry farmers and other players in the animal husbandry sector want to explore the tempting prospects of export market, the processing of animal products has to be salutary because developed countries do not compromise standard on food safety for their citizens. Iin other words, a wholesome method of processing meat and other animal products has to be employed by livestock farmers order to enjoy the patronage of health conscious consumers locally and internationally."

Mr. Tunde Fabunmi noted that with the war against the use of antibiotics to treat infections in animals because they leave high chemical residues in meat as attested to by research carried out world wide and in Nigeria by a university don that shows chemicals residues left in the meat of slaughter cattle in , pigs and goats in Lagos and Ogun states.

"However, bee products, especially propolis has proved highly beneficial in animal care/production and meat processing. In fact, the antioxidant, antifungal and antimicrobial activities of propolis offer wide scope for applications in food technology including meat processing and packaging. Unlike conventional preservatives, one special advantage of propolis is that its residues have a generally beneficial effect on human health."

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