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DA promotes honey, fruit production

Manila, Philippines – Department of Agriculture (DA) Secretary Proceso J. Alcala has pledged to support the culture of bees or apiculture for honey and as an adjunct enterprise to orchard fruit production.

Alcala made the commitment during a meeting early this month of apiculture industry stakeholders at the National Apiculture Research, Training, and Development Institute (NARTDI) of the Don Mariano Marcos Memorial State University (DMMMSU) in Bacnotan, La Union.

Aside from honey and other byproducts, apiculture is also important in fruit production and organic agriculture since it is an effective method of enhancing flower and fruit production the natural way.

NARTDI, chaired by Alcala, promotes apiculture and trains beekeepers, apiculturists, and other industry players.

During his stint as representative of the second district of Quezon, Alcala was the main author of Republic Act (RA) No. 10068 or the Philippine Organic Agriculture Act of 2010.

At the second NARTDI board meeting, in which Alcala was represented by Director Efren Nuestro of the Bureau of Animal Industry (BAI), an apiculture roadmap or apiculture stakeholder’s plan for 2011-2016 was discussed along with the inclusion of apiculture or beekeeping as one of DA’s major thrusts.

Nuestro said the Philippines imports natural and artificial honey at about 400 metric tons (MT) annually to augment local production of roughly 150 MT.

BAI apiculturist Elmer Esplana said apiculture has a huge potential in the country, as at a conservative per capita consumption of a spoon (about 20 to 25 grams of honey) a day, the country would require at least 728,175 MT annually. (Marvyn N. Benaning)