ALOR GAJAH: A unique programme has seen commercial honey bee farmers receiving training and equipment to boost their knowledge, skills and productivity.
The project was an initiative by the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry and facilitated by the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation (BiotechCorp) through the Bioeconomy Community Development Programme (BCDP).
The project enabled eight members of the Commercial Honey Bee Farmer’s Association to receive technical training, equipment as well as 54 boxes of bee colonies for contract farming through a buy-back guarantee agreement with Flora Bee Hive Enterprise Sdn Bhd.
After completing the project, members of the association are now able to manage the bee boxes as well as harvest and sell the honey.
Deputy Science, Technology & Innovation Minister Datuk Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah said the project illustrates the importance of developing beekeepers into bio-agropreneurs by improving their knowledge and technical skills.
“Members of the association can now produce a consistent and sustainable supply of honey.
“This will reduce our dependence on imported honey and help generate additional income for the members,” said Abu Bakar.
He said that Malaysia can capitalise on honey’s natural and functional benefits, which are widely used for healthcare, wellness, beauty and anti-aging purposes.
BiotechCorp chief executive officer Datuk Dr Mohd Nazlee Kamal said the programme could help the industry to the global stage.
In the long term, the project is expected to create more job opportunities for the community in the surrounding areas through related activities such as fabrication of new bee boxes and selling of honey-based products.
In 2015, 23 projects have been implemented under BCDP, involving more than 300 farmers.
These projects are expected to create additional income, averaging RM4,300 per farmer, directly impacting 1,642 lives.
A total of 30 BCDP projects involving 500 farmers are targeted in 2016, which are expected to give an average additional monthly income of RM4,500 per farmer.
As of March 2016, four projects have been implemented under BCDP involving 375 farmers.