Mobile service to benefit beekeepers

The National, Wednesday July 20th, 2016

HONEY producer New Guinea Fruit Co Limited (NGF) says it is launching a mobile extension service for beekeepers across PNG in Goroka, Eastern Highlands this week.
NGF had partnered Oxfam PNG, in a public-private project co-funded by New Guinea Fruit, Oxfam New Zealand and New Zealand Aid programme with the aim to help beekeepers increase honey production and income for their families.
New Guinea Fruit produces the Highlands Honey brand had been supporting beekeepers in the Highlands region for over 15 years, despite dwindling production levels.
NGF director Sally Watson said one of the main reasons they kept buying honey was out of loyalty to rural beekeepers who continued to produce over the years.
“There is a big demand for honey across PNG, and we think that one of the missing links at the moment is apiculture extension services and access to buyers,” she said.
David Shields from Oxfam said Oxfam’s research into PNG honey industry shows a large domestic and international demand which was not met.
“Honey has provided a strong income for rural farmer families for many years, but they have not had much support to improve their skills and which has decreased honey production over the years,” Shields said. Wilson Tomato, an apiculture expert and the head of NGF extension team, sees more reasons for extension work.
“We are facing new challenges with climate change and new bee diseases are impacting PNG bees,  so it is important we work together with our farmers to educate them and face these new problem. Bees are important to agriculture activities because they pollinate coffee as well as other food crops.”