Honeybee farming may be a ‘big business’

http://www.newstoday.com.bd/index.php?option=details&news_id=44623&date=2011-11-19

Honeybee farming may be a ‘big business’

Proper attention and technological support can make honey production a million-dollar business for the country, said a researcher on Friday, reports UNB.

“It’s possible to make it [honey farming] a million-dollar business for the country, creating huge jobs. Honey farmers just need technological support and financial assistance,” Prof Mahtab Ali of Rajshahi University told the agency over phone.

He said Bangladesh can even export queen bees, candle and gum which will further contribute to the export. In Europe, each queen bee is sold at 50 euro.

He said many unemployed people can be involved in honeybee farming and the marketing process of honey, which will ultimately help reduce poverty apart from giving a boost to the country’s export earnings.

“During my research on honeybees in England, I came to know how technology can help produce quality honey,” Prof Mahtab said.

He said since the honey growers are poor and not trained and equipped technologically, financial support can help them get familiar with technologies.

“Despite having enormous potentials, Australian and Indian honey is dominating our internal market,” Mahtab said.

He said this is unfortunate that Bangladesh does not have a single honey processing plant though it gets honey from different parts for six months throughout the year, whereas countries in Europe get it only for six weeks.

“Even Nepal has honey processing units,” he said seeking government support for the development of the prospective sector.

Citing an example, he said, “I saw a man in Vietnam producing huge honey from 40,000 bee boxes. The same thing is possible here in Bangladesh.”

He said they met Industries Minister Dilip Barua on Thursday and informed him about the prospect of honey production.

“If the government takes proper steps, honey production will get a boost in the country, ushering in a new opportunity for export,” Mahtab said. Bangladesh can produce 2 lakh tonnes of honey a year.

Minister Barua has already announced that the government would undertake a pilot project to help the honey growers boost their honey production.

SME Foundation will finance the project under which honey growers will be provided training on honey processing and its marketing.

Chairman of Ayurvedia Pharmacy Litd AFM Fakhrul Islam Munshi, who is involved in this sector, said some 4,000 metric tonnes of honey are being produced in the country annually and the production can be raised to 2 lakh metric tonnes using modern technologies.

If the honey production grows, pressure on sugar use will be reduced through substitution, he said seeking government support for development of the prospective sector.

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