Guimaras’ drive to produce organic mangoes is expected to get boost with the current drive to increase bee pollinators in the province.
Ramon P. Marañon, chairperson of the Provincial Agricultural and Fishery Council (PAFC) of Guimaras and at the same time a beekeeper, on Friday said that they would like to encourage mango growers to venture into beekeeping to increase pollinators not only for mangoes but for other horticultural crops that need pollination.
Also mango growers are urged to minimize their use of pesticides that cause the decrease in the number of pollinators.
“We would like to encourage if possible that all mango growers go into this so the use of pesticide will be minimized,” he underscored.
Beekeeping is included in the Provincial Development Physical Framework Plan and Annual Investment Plan and Provincial Commodity Investment Plan of Guimaras, he added.
Towards end of December last year, the Agricultural Training Institute funded the beekeeping training of 36 individuals with potentials to become beekeepers. However, there are already individual beekeepers in the province.
Marañon hoped that the provincial government provides substantial funds for the industry.
The beekeeping industry makes use of cultured native bees. An initial colony may costs PHP5,000 but after six months it can already produce another colony. The cost may even go down to PHP3,500 if acquired in mass.
He said that growing foreign species of bees is challenging because every three years they have to import a queen bee from Hawaii and Australia, among others. Also, during rainy season they have to be fed with refined or white sugar.
“This is not attuned to our organic farming while the native ones are acclimatized so they work so well in all kinds of climate conditions,” he said.
The beekeeping industry then is eyed to be not only helpful to agriculture but even to the environment. He cited the mangroves, for instance, need pollinators during their flowering stage to be able to produce seeds.
He said that beekeeping is also a paradigm shift from the conventional to organic growing of mangoes.
Aside from increased mango production, other by-products such as pollen, wax soap and ointment, among others can also be produced from out of the wax being produced by bees.
The drive may lead to the formation of the Beekeepers Association of Guimaras this year in time for the province’s hosting of the 20th National Mango Congress on May 7-9, 2018.
Also, this year they may lobby to host the national conference of beekeepers. PNA