The National Bee Unit in the UK is hosting a four-person delegation from the schools of veterinary medicine at the University of Ghana (UG) and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in order to develop and expand bee health education in Ghana’s veterinary undergraduate and postgraduate programs.
The Animal Health System Strengthening Project (AHSS), a UK foreign development aid project run by the UK Department for Food and Rural Affairs, is funding the two-week travel (18th–31st August 2023) for participants.
The team consists of Dr. Richard Hope Otsyina, acting dean of the UG School of Veterinary Medicine, Professor Benjamin Obukowho Emikpe, dean of the KNUST School of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Ayodeji Ayotunde Oni, senior lecturer at the UG School of Veterinary Medicine, and Dr. Emmanuel Dongbataazie Piiru of the School of Veterinary Medicine, KNUST.
A healthy ecosystem needs bees because they contribute to the biodiversity on which all life depends for survival. They are excellent pollinators as well as producers of high-quality food (like honey). They enable the reproduction of plants, including many food crops, by picking up and dispersing pollen from blooms. Due to habitat loss, altered weather patterns, diseases, and the over use of agrochemicals such as pesticides that are harmful to bee health, bee numbers have been dropping internationally over the past few decades.
In the UK, the National Bee Unit (NBU) is a renowned center of excellence for research and advising on bee health. Along with managing and eradicating bee illnesses and pests, it has also
trained and disseminate information to beekeepers for over 60 years in England and Wales. The current team of 80 people comprises laboratory diagnostics, research personnel and 60 Bee Inspectors.
The delegation is receiving instruction on bee farming, bee pests, and bee illnesses both in theory and in practice. Additionally, they will interact with the researchers at Fera Science Ltd who analyze honey and bees in laboratories and see bee health inspectors at work. The bee health teaching module will be developed using all the obtained information and abilities and thereafter implemented at both veterinary schools. In the second stage of this partnership, Ghanaian and UK bee experts will travel to different beekeeping communities throughout Ghana to assess the prevalence of diseases and pests and adapt suggested disease control strategies to suit Ghanaian honey producers and processors.