Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Bee farmers seek technical assistance

Officers from DAL, LDC and EHP administration conducting a honey bee field survey in the Daulo district, EHP.   




Many farmers in the highlands region are showing interest in beekeeping but they need more technical assistance.

Elias Kopun, from Banz in the Western Highlands province, is one such farmer who is very keen in honey bee industry.

Kopun travelled all the way by PMV bus to the Department of Agriculture and Livestock regional office in Goroka to seek advice.

He believes that honey bee is a viable industry because there is a fixed market available within the country and overseas as well.

However, DAL and relevant agencies must provide more farmer training, regular extension services, improve transportation and other services.

“Beekeeping is a profitable and unique industry,” Kopun said.

“You’ve got to be skilled – it’s not like running a trade store business.

 Bees are insects and you have to take extra care in management practices and it will make money for you.”

Kopun said he had engaged a consultant and was putting together a proposal to seek funding assistance from the government to develop a beekeeping project.

Apiculture (honey bee) industry in PNG has great potential to improve the welfare and livelihood of the rural communities and contribute to the economy.

However, government agencies like DAL and Livestock Development Corporation must provide more funding and resources to promote beekeeping activities in the rural areas.

DAL apiculture programme manager based in Goroka, Joachim Waugla, confirmed that there was potential for the industry and more farmers were showing interest in beekeeping.

PNG only produces 50 tonnes of honey but the demand exceeds 200 tonnes.

The current price is around K10 per kg which is very attractive.

Waugla said there was need to promote and conduct awareness “but we need transport for mobility to carry out extension services throughout the region”.

“DAL regional office assists bee farmers by providing training and advisory services and the interest amongst farmers is growing.

“More and more farmers are coming to our office for advice and assistance. We should be going out to them more often not them coming to us.”

Waugla suggested that DAL should be solely responsible for the honey bee industry and not any other agencies which have been allocated funding for this activity. 

He added surveys had been carried out and there was data available which provided useful information for planning and development of the industry.

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