BEE-KEEPERS, especially smallholder farmers in Eastern Highlands province have been urged to make good use of the current honey harvesting season experienced in the province to earn an income.
Moreover, they have been urged to harvest the honey and sell them in order to make enough money to help them pay for their children's school fee for this year.
Chairman of the Isten Hailans Beekeepers Association, Jonah Buka encouraged the farmers to utilize their time properly in harvesting the honey from their hives and sell them to earn monies to support their children as the commencement of the 2010 academic is a couple of weeks away.
Eastern Highlands is currently the leader in leader in honey production in the country, and with the peak of the harvesting period in December and January, farmers would be busy during that time.
Mr Buka said the industry at the beginning of last year was faced with the problem with the spread of a varroa mite, which affected queen bee, however, the problems was somewhat contained through trainings and a number of surveys in the province by Department of Agriculture and Livestock (DAL) officers in the middle of last year
The objective of the survey was to determine the level of infestation and spread of the varroa mite in honey bees in the province as well as the current status of the honey bee production, processing and marketing system. The EHP, believed to be the core centre of the honey bee industry, was not covered during the national varroa mite surveillance and awareness conducted early this year.
Mr Buka said the survey was of vital importance to give the government authorities a clear picture of the status of the industry. The data collected will also provide in-depth information required for future planning and development of the industry.
He said previously in response to the outbreak of varroa mite, a provincial task force and a technical working committee were formed in the EHP and at the national level, a national task force was established. The response activities included a workshop conducted in EHP by Australian Quarantine Inspection Services, a scoping study on the impact of varroa mite on the pollination of major agricultural crops by NARI and ACIAR, and NAQIA-led nationwide varroa mite awareness, and now the latest survey. For the first time the outbreak has united all respective government agencies to work together to aid the honey bee industry.