by Marie Kauna – EMTV Online, Port Moresby
Apiculture or beekeeping was first introduced in Papua New Guinea for research purposes in the 1940’s, according to Contemporary PNG Studies Volume 14 (2011).
Early in 1970, a small honey industry was established in Eastern Highlands province. In early 1980, the Eastern Highlands Beekeepers Association was established and today, has more than 320 registered members and is slowly expanding.
Today, most of Papua New Guinea’s honey production comes from Eastern Highlands, with a few farmers from Oksapmin in Sandaun province and Bougainville.
The principal buyer, processor and marketer of the honey in the New Guinea Fruit Company. New Guinea Fruit Company is the producer of Highlands Honey and has been supporting bee keepers in the Highlands for more than 15 years.
In its effort to help support the beekeepers, the company in partnership with Oxfam in PNG, has launched the ‘Honey Hotline’.
The initiative allows farmers to call the extension and ask for help regarding any issue they may face with farming the bees.
The extension service will provide technical information, beekeeping supplies and available markets for the farmers. Farmers through this service will get to learn, understand and engage this into practice.
They will be able to understand the problems, resolve them appropriately and also, improve on their production capacity to generate more income for their living.
Now with the launched initiative, the company will employ extension officers to carry out this service to the farmers throughout Eastern Highlands province.