(Speech by Dr Nelson Simbiken at the launch of Honey Bee Integration with Coffee)
CIC Ltd is embarking on stakeholder partnership in Apiculture Industry for Honey production and pollination services in PNG after Government decision in August 2014 to transfer all functions of Research & Development, and Grower Services (Extension) from Livestock Development Corporation to CIC.
Decision to transfer was based on science and institutional capacity to support the growth of the Apiculture industry. Since coffee flower occurs all year round with three major peaks, now is the time to introduce Honey bees.
Apiculture industry is an untapped commodity. In all aspects of life, bees sweetens the nature and supports the evolution of plant diversity. Beekeeping in Papua New Guinea (PNG) is a cottage industry that is well suited to smallholder farming, particularly in the Highlands.
To date, Hived honeybee (Apis mellifera) colonies yield about 50 tonnes of honey annually with a value of K1.2 million (AU$300,000).
This is produced by about 1000 beekeepers, with up to 500 of them located in the Eastern Highlands province (EHP). PNG consumes about 200 tonnes of honey annually, with the difference between demand and supply coming from imported honey.
Coffee production can be increased with Apiculture. While Apiculture can provide increased income from direct increased coffee yields, apiculture can also provide an added income for coffee farmers from sale of honey and by products.
Cultivation of coffee with Apiculture is a normal practice with high altitude coffee farmers around the world. Some PNG coffee farmers have decided to integrate apiculture into their coffee farms and have improve their livelihood with the additional income from apiculture. Strategic marketing arrangement may improve sales and maximise added benefits from sales of highly sought after honey derived from coffee farms.
The main objective of the integrating Apiculture into coffee farming system is to develop Apiculture capacity and support for smallholder farmers in both lowlands and highland areas to expand production of Apiculture with coffee. Thus increased productivity with the view to increase National Arabica and Robusta productions in the medium term consistent with GoPNG’s Medium Term Development Strategies.
Farmers will be direct beneficiaries of the project. The majority of the population is made up of smallholder growers or subsistence farmers who will have access to Apiculture equipment and training as is done currently in the coffee cooperatives.
AAAK (Apo, Angra, Angna, Kofi) and Simbai (Madang) Coffee groups has should great potential for expansion and growth through CIC’s intervention in 2015. Through an MOA between CIC and DDA of Middle Ramu District in Madang Province, 60 honey bee boxes were supplied. In just one year of training provided by CIC and NDAL bee officers in EHP, 40 litres of Simbai Honey was harvested.
Furthermore, coffee farmers and vegetable farmers in Simbai and in the highlands of PNG have experienced increase coffee and food production. CIC’s has since been proactive with industry players through advisory services to the government on effects of Varoa and Tropilaelaps biosecurity concerns for Honey bees, has developed management technique to minimise the effects of these diseases.
CIC intends to support the growth of the apiculture industry and production of honey through integration of Apiculture with the established coffee cooperatives and lead Partners, as a way forward using the CIC’s institutional capacity for Research & Development and Grower Services. The Zuguru farm near Goroka will be used as the research, breeding and distribution centre for bees and bee boxes for Apiculture industry players. AAAK would be supported by CIC through allocation of space at Zurugu.
Approved for release:
Dr Nelson Simbiken (PhD)
Acting Chief Scientist
Research, Growers & Service Division (RGSD) – Aiyura
“Yumi lukautim Kofi na Kofi bai lukautim Yumi”