THE Department of Agriculture (DA) said it hopes to expand the beekeeping industry, citing the prospect of new export markets.
Agriculture Undersecretary Deogracias Victor B. Savellano said the DA will explore funding for the expansion to be overseen by the Bureau of Animal Industry.
“Beekeeping is a high-value farm sector. It has export potential given an organized national program to develop it,” Mr. Savellano added.
He said Philippine honeybee breeds are easy to raise, setting the stage for a significant expansion.
“The program offers huge opportunities as income earners for farmers. Honey has medicinal and pharmaceutical properties,” he added.
The DA said it plans to accredit bee suppliers to develop the industry, as a measure to reduce the smuggling of queen bees.
“Queen bee smuggling has been destroying our domestic industry,” he said.
The DA added that apiculture products include antibacterial soap, massage oil, lip balm, and shampoo.
“Philippine bee products have reportedly been reaching prominent export markets,” it said.
The DA has also partnered with the University of the Philippines-Los Baños (UPLB) to develop a roadmap for developing export markets and a community-based beekeeping program.
“UPLB has been developing technologies using native bees, particularly stingless bees, in order to raise crop yields and sustain biodiversity,” the DA said.
The project has benefited communities of Lanao del Norte and indigenous Mangyan in Victoria, Occidental Mindoro.
It added that bee farms are also being developed as agriculture tourism sites.
“One of the sites is the Balay Buhay sa Uma Bee Farm in Bulusan, Sorsogon. It is accredited by the Department of Tourism,” it said.
Additionally, the program is also set to establish a Food and Drug Administration-accredited bee facility for testing product quality. — Adrian H. Halili