bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Impoverished Bangladeshi beekeeping

Now that the swarming season is at its peak in the UK, some beekeepers might just be wondering what to do with yet another swarm (I'm sorry to say I haven't had a single call to rescue a swarm yet!). But spare a thought for Bangladeshi beekeepers who would love to have a swarm of Apis mellifera, but find they are just too expensive. Instead they make do with the lower-yielding Apis cerana honeybees.
The yield from Apish Malifera [sic] is almost double that from the local variety ... Besides, Apish Malifera bees are resistant to diseases unlike the Sirana variety.

Masud said ... he cannot purchase those because of high price. A box of Malifera bees are sold at Tk 2500 to 3000, which poor honey farmers can not afford, he said.

He said the Apish Sirana [sic] bees are susceptible to various diseases. ... The preventive medicine is imported and is not easily available.

Abul Kalam of Fulbaria headquarter is cultivating honey since 1992. He has 14 boxes, all with Apish Sirana. He said he tried for bank loan to expand the farming, but did not get.
The article in the Bangladeshi Daily Star (which is “committed to the people's right to know”) suggests that things could be improved with support:

A good number of farmers still cling to their traditional profession amid odds, producing about 1200 maunds of honey a year. The production can be raised to about 4000 maunds, leaving a sizeable export surplus, if the problems are removed and assistance provided, they say.

Marketing problem, lack of scientific preservation facilities, HYV bees and bank loan and high price of medicine to protect bees from diseases are the major problems.


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