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Thursday, September 29, 2011

DA to promote bee culture for honey, fruit production

The Department of Agriculture will fully support and promote the culture of bees (apiculture) for honey and as an adjunct enterprise to orchard fruit production.

Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala made the commitment during a meeting early this month of apiculture industry stakeholders at the National Apiculture Research, Training and Development Institute (NARTDI), Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU), in Bacnotan, La Union.

He said aside from honey and other by-products, apiculture is also important in fruit production and organic agriculture since it is an effective method of enhancing flower and fruit production the natural way. Sec. Alcala also serves as the NARTDI board chairman. The institute promotes apiculture in the country, and trains interested beekeepers, apiculturists, and other industry stakeholders.

During his stint as Representative of the 2nd District of Quezon, Alcala was the main author of Republic Act 10068 or the Philippine Organic Agriculture Act of 2010.

During the 2nd NARTDI board meeting, where Sec. Alcala was represented by Director Efren Nuestro of the DA-Bureau of Animal Industry, an ‘apiculture roadmap’ or apiculture stakeholder’s plan for 2011-2016, and inclusion of apiculture or beekeeping as one of DA’s major thrusts.

Nuestro said the Philippines imports natural and artificial honey, at about 400 metric tons (MT) annually, to augment local production of roughly 150 MT to satisfy the requirements of households, hotels, restaurants and other institutional buyers.

A DA-BAI apiculturist Elmer Esplana said apiculture has a huge potential in the country, as at a conservative per capita consumption of 1 spoon (about 20 to 25 grams of honey) a day, the country would require at least 728,175 metric tons annually.

Nuestro said bee culture can be done in any part of the country, but the top five apiculture sites are the Cordillera region, Ilocos, Cagayan, Central Visayas, and Southern Tagalog.

During the NARTDI meeting, a memorandum of agreement was forged among Provincial Governor Manuel C. Ortega, DMMMSU, Rep. Victor Ortega, and the La Union Beekeepers Development Cooperative (LUBDCO) for the operation and composition of the management committee that will run the newly inaugurated P10.5-million La Union Honeybee Center at Raois, Bacnotan.

The center has designed a honey production module which may be replicated in various parts of the country to produce the needs for each family, Nuestro said. DA Information Service

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