Wednesday, February 28Food Security Matters

DA’s Beekeeping Program Set to Go Nationwide

MAMBURAO, Occidental Mindoro The Department of Agriculture (DA) is gearing up to roll out its successful beekeeping program nationwide this year, following the triumph of the pilot initiative in Occidental Mindoro. The program, initially targeted at empowering local Mangyan tribesmen by providing them with a source of income and modern entrepreneurial skills, has exceeded expectations, prompting the government to expand its scope.

In an interview on Tuesday, DA Undersecretary Deogracias Victor Savellano highlighted the positive impact of the beekeeping program on the local communities. The success of these small-scale ventures has encouraged the department to scale up the initiative, with a focus on meeting the increasing demand for quality honey on the global market.

beekeeping program
Filipino beekeeper image credit CESOSACO

To facilitate this ambitious expansion, the DA has joined forces with the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB), forming a collaborative effort to produce honey on a commercial scale while maintaining community-based beekeeping operations. UPLB has assembled a dedicated team tasked with creating a roadmap for entering the international honey export market.

“Honey is unquestionably a high-value agricultural product. The export potential is vast, but to harness the global demand, we need an organized national program to cultivate our beekeeping industry,” emphasized Undersecretary Savellano.

Among the targeted markets for Philippine honey is the United Kingdom, where even the British royals have displayed enthusiasm for this golden nectar. In addition to being a popular food item, honey serves as a crucial raw material for various products, including antibacterial soaps, massage oils, lip balm, and organic shampoo – all of which command premium prices abroad.

Undersecretary Savellano revealed that the DA is actively exploring funding options for the expanded beekeeping program, with a focus on securing support from the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI). Once the program is in full swing nationally, the DA plans to encourage beekeepers to focus on cultivating native species of honey bees due to their resilience. This approach not only ensures a more sustainable industry but also contributes to the preservation of endemic bee varieties.

In a move to combat illegal practices that threaten the industry, the DA is set to establish an accreditation system for local beekeepers. Undersecretary Savellano expressed concern over the black market for queen bees, a problem that has thrived due to the lack of government intervention in the past.

“Queen bee smuggling has been destroying our local industry,” he stated emphatically. The accreditation system aims to curb this issue, providing a transparent and regulated environment for beekeepers while fostering the growth of legal and sustainable beekeeping industry in the Philippines.

As the DA’s beekeeping program expands nationwide, it not only promises to create new livelihood opportunities but also positions the Philippines as a significant player in the global honey market. With a focus on sustainable practices, community empowerment, and international competitiveness, the sweet success of this beekeeping initiative is set to buzz across the archipelago.

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