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The Department of Agriculture (DA) Region IV-CALABARZON sponsored the 25th Beekeepers’ Network Philippines Foundation, Inc. (BEENET) Conference and Techno Fora wherein about 200 beekeepers all over the country gathered from July 24 to 26, 2019 held in Malvar, Batangas.

The three-day activity with the theme, “The Philippine Bee Industry: Looking Back, Moving Forward” served as a platform for the participants to tackle the present state and development in sustaining the beekeeping industry, as well as issues and challenges it is facing.

DA CALABARZON Regional Director Arnel V. de Mesa, in his inspirational message, said that the DA recognizes the vital role of honeybees in the agricultural industry.

“As we all know, bees have an important function in the conservation of biodiversity and in increasing crop yields. And we, humans, keep on benefiting from their primary products.”

In line with this, he raised one important issue on the proper labeling of honey and honey products to assure ourselves of its quality, with the vision of making the region known as “the land of milk and honey.”

Since 2004, the DA undertakes research and development, and promotion of beekeeping in the region. Basic and advanced training courses on beekeeping (combination of lectures and actual demonstrations) were also conducted through the Regional Livestock Program. This intended to help farmer-participants increase their knowledge and have a first-hand experience in their practice of apiculture.

Director de Mesa also mentioned that there was a reported 30% increase in the productivity of various crops in CALABARZON due to bee-pollination.

Towards the end of his talk, he encouraged the local government of Malvar to propose projects under the World Bank-supported Philippine Rural Development Project.

“The DA will continue to give its full support in your [beekeepers’] effort to help develop the agriculture sector as much as possible. Thank you and congratulations for exerting your dedication and commitment in promoting and advancing for the bee industry to grow,” Director de Mesa concluded.

The conference was divided into different activities such as plenary sessions, reporting, business meetings, farm tour, break-out scientific sessions, and presentation of research papers. There was also an exhibit of honey products like honey, beeswax, pollen, propolis, and others.

BEENET Philippines is a national organization composed of beekeepers, hobbyists, researchers, and people from different sectors of the government and non-government organizations. ● ARC, DA-RAFIS