Posted on: Sunday February 10, 2019

CamSur introduces Beekeeping as sustainable livelihood
“Medyo takot po ako nitong mag-alaga kasi iniisip ko nangangagat,” admitted Anabelle Morsilla, a resident of Barangay Old Caaluan, Tinambac. Anabelle just voiced out the concern and hesitation of the majority in their place when they were first invited to a livelihood training on beekeeping.

Aglioculture and Meliponiculture or sting and stingless bees (kalulot) keeping provide valuable products such as honey and propolis, while increasing the productivity of crops through pollination. Worldwide, it is said that around 2/3 of all cultivated plant species depend their production of fruits and seeds on bee pollination. Bees are generally known for their sting and danger. However, most people are unaware that stingless bee species are both harmless and beneficial when it comes to creating healthy and environment-friendly products.

With this, the Provincial Government of Camarines Sur launched earlier this year the Beekeeping Livelihood Project with two main objectives: first, to create a viable livelihood that will provide income without harming the environment; and second, to support crop pollination in the area for a richer produce. The said project was pilot tested in Barangay Old Caaluan in Tinambac, Barangay Gata, and Barangay Paniman in Caramoan. Training-seminars on beekeeping was conducted early December last year to provide technical knowledge on stingless bees and correct misconceptions on beekeeping.

"Nung una nakita ko na nagdadalawang-isip sila. Nauuna yung takot kaysa pag-unawa," said Gilbert Panuelos, a beekeeper who was tapped by the province to head the training-seminars. Gilbert, who started out as a curious honeybee enthusiast, went out of his way to self-study meliponiculture until he was able to make his own living through beekeeping and honey selling.

To correct these misconceptions, the province invested in their knowledge building and skills training. After the training, one household every barangay was given a bee colony to keep. These bee colonies are bought by the province from local farmers and town folks who in the past just regarded these colonies as additional burden to them.

"Sa pag-aalaga po pala ng kalulot, pwede akong magka-income. Pwede akong magbenta ng honey, pwede ring gawing gamot ng pamilya," shared Anabelle. She added she was surprised at how easy beekeeping is compared to other livelihood that she tried. "Pag nag-alaga ka ng baboy, kailangan mo pakainin, kailangan mo linisan araw-araw. Ang kalulot hindi. Sabi nga sa amin (sa training), sa madaling araw tulog ka pa, yung kalulot nagtatrabaho na makahanap ng halaman para may makain sila at makagawa na ng honey," she said.

Because of the success shared by the first recipients of bee colonies from the province, the provincial government decided to boost further this opportunity for income generation in far-flung areas of the province.

On April 22, 2017, in time with the international celebration of Earth Day, Governor Migz Villafuerte himself awarded 200 bee colonies to beneficiaries of the Beekeeping Livelihood Project in Tinambac and Del Gallego. The community, after months of trainings and application of their knowledge on beekeeping and production of honeybee by-products, showed the governor the various products they made out of the bee colonies: honey, candles, and soaps. All these they have never thought of producing themselves without the guidance of the province.

“Natutuwa akong mag-alaga ng kaluluot at nae-excite ako na pwede pala kaming makagawa ng iba-ibang produko sa kalulot,” said Philip Tripoli, a 56-year old recipient of a bee colony. He was also thrilled to experience how easy, convenient, and almost effortless beekeeping is.

The Beekeeping Project will soon be replicated in other areas of the province to promote sustainable and environment-friendly livelihood practices.

Written By: Estel Lenwij Estropia

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