Apiculture sector under threat

Business

THE apiculture industry is under serious threat after the tropilaelaps mite was detected in Eastern Highlands, according to Eastern Highlands Bee Farmers Association president Jonah Buka.
Buka said an investigation conducted by the association and scientists from the National Agriculture Quarantine and Inspection Authority confirmed the presence of the mite among the developing honeybee in boxes used by some farmers.
According to an awareness message from Naqia, the tropilaelaps mite feeds on developing honeybees.
This allows the transmission of viruses resulting in the death of pupae, deformed honeybee and a decline in the colony. “The apiculture industry is under threat,” Buka said.
“We need a concerted effort by authorities to address this problem.”
He made this known recently during the launching of the integration of honeybee and coffee in Goroka. Coffee Industry Corporation handed over the apiculture to the Highlands-based Coffee Cooperative Apo Angra Angna Kange. CIC’s chief scientist Dr Nelson Simbiken said Papua New Guinea produced 50 tonnes of hived honey.
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 Eastern Highlands,” Simbiken said.
“PNG consumes about 200 tonnes of honey annually, with the difference between demand and supply coming from imported honey.”

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