This “potato” town of Benguet may soon have another moniker as it is starting to discover that it has another potential.
In a couple of years more, this town may soon end up with new monikers as: the “Queen Bee” Capital of the North or this town could also be called the “Honey Capital of Benguet”.
Now on its infant state, the Benguet State University-Buguias Campus is home to a research on queen bee rearing.
Dr. Basito S. Cotiw-an, executive dean of the campus said, they are happy to host the BSU – Apiculture Project as a satellite institution of the National Apiculture Research Training and Development Institute (NARTDI) based in Don Mariano Marcos Memorial University State University (DMMMSU).
The project, he said, started in February 2009.
“Buguias is a natural habitat for queen bee rearing,” Cotiw-an said.
There were other satellite areas in the past that were selected and they found out that Buguias has the best production, in terms of quality and quantity he added.
There is something unique in Buguias that makes it ideal for queen bee rearing and that “x” factor is one of the things researchers are now trying to find out.
However, Cotiw-an, speculated that these maybe because of the local climate and the absence of natural predators.
THE GOLDEN LIQUID
There is now a great demand for honey, not only in the Philippines but worldwide as well, Cotiw-an said.
We are now trying to encourage members of the community and farmers to engage in apiculture or bee keeping, this will not only be a new source of livelihood, but the existence of bees in fruit bearing trees and other flower bearing plants is symbiotic, Cotiw-an added.
By keeping bees, he said, farmers would only earn extra income by selling the honey produce but they would likewise benefit as the bees would help in pollination.
Studies show a marked increase in yield on citrus tree and chayote farms with the presence of bees.
Plants tend to benefit from bees as they aide in the movement of pollen allowing them to reproduce by setting seeds. However, the bees on the other hand, don’t know or care that the plant benefits, They pollinate to get nectar and/or pollen from flowers to meet their energy requirements and to produce offspring.
In the relationship between bees and plants, the bees provide an important service to flowering plants, while the plants pay with food for the pollinators and their offspring.
THE GROWING BEE KEEPERS COMMUNITY
Slowly, the awareness on beekeeping is catching on.
Julius Abyado, focal person of the apiary project at BSU- Buguias said there are now three bee keeping associations: the Buguias Beekeepers Association Inc., the oldest beekeeping association in town with 43 memebers; the BSU-Buguias Beekeepers, 44 members and the Gateley Womens Circle with 27 members.
BBAI has 350 bee colonies; BSU-Buguias Beekeepers with 20 colonies.
Abyado said, BSU-Buguias and the different organizations are actively conduction instructional seminars and trainings in the different baranggays in the municipality and in neighboring towns.
From January to this month, Abyado reported that the BSU-Buguias Campus Apiary and the BBAI has produced a total of 2,040 kilo grams of honey; and have sold a total of 85 colonies.
Abyado likewise reported that they have sold a total of 66 mated queens.
We are fixing our target to produce 200 queen bees for next year, he added.
For farmers who want to try out beekeeping, Abyado said, it is ideal to have a minimum of two to three colony boxes.
A three framer box, he said, would cost P3,500, while a 5 frame box would range from P6,000 to P6,500.
A box with 10 frames could give you a 10 kilogram honey harvest on the minimum per year, he added.
The harvest season in Buguias is on December.
There is still a big future in the beekeeping business, this according to Cotiw-an, as he would like to encourage others to venture into apiculture.
This year alone, he said, there is a shortage of supply of honey produced in the Philippines as compared to the demand.
Last year’s yield was sold in less than a month.
Aside from honey, you could also yield beeswax, propolen, royal jelly and propolis,
The Cordillera region is ideal for beekeeping he said.
Both Cotiw-an and Abyado for see bee farms in region in the near future.
Both say, the farmers are now slowly realizing the benefits of bees to their farms and the income they could earn with the harmony of the bees and the plants co-existing, both income generating.—larry madarang