Bee pas­ture man­age­ment com­mit­tees to be formed

The Myanmar Times - - Business - SWAN YE HTUT swanye­htut@mm­ – Trans­la­tion by Win Thaw Tar and Khine Thazin Han

ALARMED at a 50 per­cent re­duc­tion in ex­port de­mand, and ea­ger to im­prove some­times fraught re­la­tions be­tween breed­ers and landown­ers, the agri­cul­ture min­istry is to set up bee pas­ture man­age­ment com­mit­tees through­out the coun­try.

U Aung Zan Htwe, deputy di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Depart­ment of Api­cul­ture, Live­stock Breed­ing and Ve­teri­nary, told jour­nal­ists a Novem­ber 17 meet­ing in Nay Pyi Taw had worked on the rules and reg­u­la­tions for the new bod­ies.

“We will form Bee Pas­ture Man­age­ment Com­mit­tees with bee breed­ers to draw up rules,” he said, adding that the in­dus­try was be­ing held back by a lack of agreed stan­dards and prac­tices.

Bee­keep­ing is con­ducted in Kachin, Kayah, Kayin and Shan states and Man­dalay, Yan­gon, Bago, Sa­gaing and Magwe re­gions plus Nay Pyi Taw. Pas­ture man­age­ment com­mit­tees will now be formed in each of them, backed by the re­spec­tive live­stock breed­ing de­part­ments.

There are about 900 bee farm­ers in the coun­try, with about 140,000 bee­hives. Be­tween 4000 and 5000 met­ric tonnes of honey were pro­duced last year, of which about 2500mt was ex­ported, mainly to China, Thai­land and the United States and a few other coun­tries. But breed­ers may face losses this year, one en­tre­pre­neur warned.

“Bee-farm­ing tech­nol­ogy in Myan­mar is not very dif­fer­ent from that used in other coun­tries,” said U Aung Zaw Htwe. “The most im­por­tant el­e­ment is the qual­ity of pas­ture, fol­lowed by prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. Myan­mar mainly pro­duces honey, but China and other neigh­bour­ing coun­tries mainly pro­duce honey milk. We need to en­hance the value of our prod­uct.”

The Novem­ber 17 meet­ing also ad­dressed mis­un­der­stand­ings be­tween bee breed­ers and landown­ers.

“Some farm­ers think the bees’ pol­li­na­tion ac­tiv­i­ties re­duces the crop yield, and they worry about the risk to passers-by,” said U Aung ZawHtwe. In fact, he said, pol­li­na­tion helps im­prove yield, and fall­ing yields were more likely to be caused by poor cul­ti­va­tion, bad weather, fer­tiliser mis­use and pests. “We want farm­ers to un­der­stand that the bee­hives are not go­ing to re­duce their yields.”

Farmer and bee breeder U Nyunt Win told The Myan­mar Times, “The main prob­lem be­tween breed­ers and landown­ers is that some farm­ers be­lieve the bees suck the nec­tar out of their crops.”

But low crop yields are not the bees’ fault, said. “The plum trees of Kani, Bu­talin and Depaeyin can feed all the bees in the coun­try. If the bees don’t pol­li­nate the plum trees, the fruit falls to the ground and is wasted. The honey the bees make brings in in­come. Kani town­ship in Sa­gaing Re­gion pro­duces the best honey in Myan­mar, in the high­est quan­tity.”

The do­mes­tic price of honey about K300,000 for about 190 viss (1 viss is equal to 1.6 kilo­grams or 3.6 pounds). Last year, the same quan­tity fetched K600,000, said U Nyunt Win, who at­trib­uted the fall to lower de­mand from ex­port cus­tomers. “Bee en­trepreneurs could face losses this year,” he said.

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