Bukidnon eyes training center for honey bee keeping

DIKLUM, Manolo Fortich, Bukidnon (MindaNews/21 April) – The Bukidnon provincial government will set up a farmers’ training center for honey bee keeping if the  results of a demonstration farm of a Korean research are favorable, provincial agriculturist Alson Quimba said.

Quimba said honey bee keeping is one of the target agricultural endeavors the provincial government is developing at the site of the defunct Bukidnon Resources Company, Inc, where a tomato paste factory used to operate.

He said three members of  the Provincial Agriculture Office have undergone training with Korean bee keeping researcher, Lee Jong Hyuk.

Engr. Deneb Joel Ganancial, one of those who attended the training, briefed reporters about Lee’s bee keeping techniques Thursday as part of a media tour at the BRCI site on the provincial government’s agriculture ventures in the area.

But Quimba said one problem for honey bee keeping is that materials for progressive bee keeping are not yet available in local markets. He said Lee will help them address this.

Lee obtained a one-year permit to use a space inside the 40-hectare BRCI site for his research/ Quimba said many farmers have availed of Lee’s free training.

In his PowerPoint presentation before members of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan in November last year, Lee said the province can be a honey paradise. He requested the board to allow him to use a space in the BRCI site for a year to conduct his adaptability and development research in the demo farm.

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.

Aside from bee keeping, the provincial government also runs a goat and cow raising project, fish pond, and farming rice, corn, and adlai, which is a native cereal common in Bukidnon. The area is also source of mango, sweet potatoes, and other root crops.

BRCI open areas were developed for agricultural seed production and goat breeder farm through the implementation of the Assistance for Low Income Communities and Settlers (ALICS) Project. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)