Korean researcher eyes Bukidnon as ‘honey paradise’

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/4 Nov) – Lee Jong Hyuk, a Korean volunteer engaged in research in the honey bee industry, has opened a demo farm in the site of the defunct Bukidnon Resources Co., Inc. (BRCI) in Dicklum, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon to help boost the province’s honey bee industry.

Lee, accompanied by provincial agriculturist Alson Quimba, identified himself as a “private researcher of honey bee production” who has lived in Mindanao since 1993.

He said in his PowerPoint presentation before members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Thursday that the province can be a honey paradise. He is requesting the board to allow him to use a space in the site for a year to conduct his adaptability and development research in the demo farm.

He said he intend to help farmers realize a progressive bee keeping industry in the Philippines, especially in Mindanao.

Provincial board members welcomed Lee’s initiatives as they gave Gov. Alex Calingasan an authority to sign a deal with Lee for his research and training endeavors.

Lee said he intends to train interested individuals to become good bee keepers so they can participate in the industry to boost job and livelihood opportunities.

“The demand for bee keeping products nowadays is very high but supply is less even here in the Philippines. Little did we realize how potential Mindanao is when it comes to beekeeping,” he added.

Lee said while developed countries like Korea have good equipment, supplies and techniques, the industry is hopeless there because of “high salary, expensive supplies, and that honey prices remain the same.”

He said the bee keepers in those countries have grown old, too, as the youth have lost interest in it.

He said the opposite is true in Mindanao where the salary is lower and there is a big unemployment rate. He also cited the abundance of sources of honey, pollen and propolis, the resinous substance bees collect from tree buds and other sources to seal their hive.

Above all, he said, because there is no winter in the country, the cost of operation is smaller.
Lee vowed to train two workers from the Provincial Agriculture Office for two to three months.

After the training they can also train agriculture workers in other towns. He said he will donate a bee colony per month to the province. After the training, the colony will be transferred to a site in Malaybalay City or another agreed site.

Lee vowed to “share techniques continuously and teach about bee product processing and development.”

He said when local farmers become more interested and are equipped on honey bee keeping, he can help market their products with his network of honey bee buyers abroad. (Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)