Thursday, July 15, 2010

Beekeeping comes to East New Britain



The Papua New Guinea Growers Association is happy to work with the PNG University of Natural Resources and Environment in piloting beekeeping in East New Britain province.

The association, with the assistance of Highlands bee coordinator Tella Loie, has brought 17 bee hives into ENB.

This was an initiative taken up the association as an alternate way of generating income for the farmers, especially those affected by the cocoa pod borer.

From the 17 hives, seven were bought off by farmers and 10 were distributed to various locations for monitoring adaptability, productivity and quality of honey from each hive.

One of the selected locations was Vudal, where two hives were put in the backyard of acting head of forestry Neville Howcroft (pictured above).  

Association technical officer, Phalson Palaru, who initiated the project and acquisition of the hives, will be monitoring the hives from time to time.

The project  bee hives were placed at locations selected on altitude,  climate, access to  honey flora, and where the hives’ success could be evaluated and compared and where students and farmers can have easy access to study the progress of the bee hives and learn about bee keeping and honey production.

The pilot project will be trialed for a year then recommendations, based on the evaluation of each hive’s production, will be made on the potential of the industry in the province.

The set up of the bee hives will enhance staff and students’ research and teaching.

At the same time, it will be used as a training facility for our farmers, through UNRE’s integrated agriculture training programme (IATP).

Apart from producing quality honey, bees also play a vital role in the cross-pollination of trees, food crops and flowering plants in general.

Their activities benefit food security and help address climate change problems by promoting genetic variation needed for natural selection and adaptation, as bees are natural pollinators and can range long distances.

 They are important pollen vectors between plant populations.

Loie said: “Highlands Honey Association cannot meet the local demand.

“We are only producing 50- 60 tonnes while 140-150 tonnes are yet to be produced to meet the local demand, so let us all work together  to produce to meet the growing local demand.”

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