27 Jan 2009

Honey production in PNG is likely to experience a huge drop this year

12:03 pm on 27 January 2009

Honey production in Papua New Guinea is likely to experience a huge drop this year due to a mite called varova-jacobsonni.

The newspaper, the National says Agriculture and Livestock technical officers in Goroka had reported that several honey producers had complained about the mite causing widespread destruction to their bee hives and bee colonies.

PNG Bee Keepers Association chairman John Buka says many farmers in Eastern Highlands are losing money because of the mite problem.

Eastern Highlands is the largest honey bee producer in the country, involving mostly smallholder farmers, with an estimated 1.5 million US dollar annual earning.

Mr Buka says it is unfortunate that farmers will miss out on the honey harvest season this year, between November and December.

Mr Buka says the Eastern Highlands provincial administration had allocated nearly 40-thousand US dollars and set up a task force committee to combat the mite.

However, he says not much extension work has been done.

Australian authorities had responded positively to the mite attack early this year by sending two quarantine officers to conduct awareness workshops in Eastern Highlands.

The visitors also took back DNA samples of the mite for further tests and analysis and to develop preventive measures.