FAO launches training on sustainable beekeeping in the Pacific

September 7, 2022, Nadi/Apia
This week, FAO and the Fiji Beekeepers Association launched the first-ever FAO training course on sustainable beekeeping for Pacific beekeepers and government officials. Taking place in the Fijian towns of Nadi and Rakiraki, the intensive 6-day course will include theory and practical lessons and knowledge sharing sessions for 12 participants from the Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu . The course aims to build the capacity of local beekeepers and government officials responsible for beekeeping activities in the Pacific by specifically targeting their needs and knowledge gaps. The activities will also provide a solid basis for developing or updating existing national beekeeping and beekeeping guidelines.

“This training is particularly important because people in the South Pacific don’t get this kind of exposure to beekeeping,” says Nilesh Kumar, president of the Fiji Beekeepers Association. “Fiji has a lot of experience and knowledge to share with our neighboring countries. We are confident that the activities will help them develop the industry in their respective communities so that they can become self-sufficient in producing their own honey as Fiji is currently doing.

During the course, participants will receive theoretical and practical training on harvesting and extraction of queen-rearing honey, filtering and sedimentation, hive and equipment, bottling and marketing of honey, etc The course will also explore value-added bee products. As beekeeping is relatively new in some Pacific countries, the sector mainly focuses on honey and beeswax production as main sources of income. Participants will explore other bee products that can create alternative or additional income, such as pollen, propolis, royal jelly, venom, queens, bees and their larvae.

Activities will primarily include hands-on training in apiaries in the Nadi and Rakiraki regions, making this course a truly invaluable educational experience. The train-the-trainer element of the course will ensure that participants take the knowledge gained back to their home countries to strengthen and improve beekeeping practices in the Pacific.

“Beekeeping was properly introduced in Vanuatu in 2016, so the industry is still new and fragile. We have some experience, but we also have a lot to learn from our Pacific neighbours.

Participants will also explore and share their experiences in tackling the productive and sustainable beekeeping challenges they face in their respective countries. Among them are lack of capacity development opportunities, vulnerabilities to extreme weather events such as cyclones and floods, lack of hibernation period due to tropical climate, humidity and temperature levels. One of the important parts of the course will focus on pests and diseases that may affect bees in the Pacific.

“We are very pleased to launch this first Pacific beekeeping training which represents the core values ​​of FAO’s capacity development activities – South-South knowledge sharing, practical and focused. We are confident that this training will help participating countries improve the sustainability, productivity and profitability of beekeeping,” said Ms. Xiangjun Yao, FAO Subregional Coordinator for the Pacific Islands.

Beekeeping is a widespread and global activity, with millions of beekeepers depending on bees for their livelihood and well-being. Together with wild pollinators, bees play a major role in maintaining biodiversity, ensuring the survival and reproduction of many plants, supporting the regeneration of forests, promoting sustainability and adaptation to climate change, improving the quantity and quality of agricultural production.

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