Development of Beekeeping in Bangladesh
BRAC is number one non-governmental developmental organization in the world whose mission is developing of resources and empowering people living in poverty. The project request came from BRAC at the meeting of official Slovenian state delegation with BRAC team in 2016. BRAC was interested in developing beekeeping as one of its agricultural activities which could be, if successful, upscaled to the farmers, building the whole value-chain if possible.
Western honeybee Apis mellifera is not native to Bangladesh - first imports happened only in 1980s – and beekeepers have limited experience with it. Agricultural institute of Slovenia was asked to perform pilot study on development of European-style beekeeping to check the feasibility, practicality and other parameters that might influence the beekeeping. Agricultural insitute of Slovenia is a leading agricultural research institution in Slovenia, covering all relevant fields. The Apiculture group within Animal production department was tasked to develop and lead pilot-scale project. The project was designed as hands-on-approach & boots-on-the-ground: a seasoned beekeeper and queen breeder Mr Brane Kozinc was dispatched to Bangladesh to take charge.
Medex d.d. offered to co-finance the project and three-partite contract was drawn between AIS, BRAC and Medex d.d. and dully signed on 3rd of April 2018. Government of Republic of Slovenia offered the services of veterinarian specialist for honeybee diseases for the duration of the project.
After two years the project run its course and came up with many answers and more questions. The project in itself was success: one of the results is quality honey with <17% of water content without extra drying, a result which was considered difficult at least at the beginning of the project. The beekeeping knowledge was carefully passed to trainees who are now, at the end of the project capable of doing most of routine beekeeping tasks. There were hiccups, of course, some of which could be avoided and some not. Yet one thing is clear: it is possible to improve the local beekeeping skills to the point where product could be sold for satisfactory price outside Bangladesh as well. An extension of the project is pending.