December 2, 2023

BAPI is not party to queen bee importation

Repeated volume importation of queen bees is bane to beekeepers because exotic species are perceived invasive.
And amid the onslaught of deadly ailments afflicting indigenous flora and fauna, the profitability of beekeeping with apis mellifera, the most prolific honey gatherers and pollinators, is continually at risk.
Indeed, too much fear overcomes logic, so unless hard scientific studies prove otherwise, anything foreign is culprit. It inflicts dire consequences on honey production subsequent to organic farming practice, food adequacy, and sound environment.
Inter-breeding is a strategy to attain desirable genetic traits, hence it is disguised as stock improvement intervention for honeybees in the country. But it would be prudent to get a few breeders since eggs from a solitary queen is sufficient; after which results hybrids, after local viability ascertained through series of vetting processes by the National Apiculture Research, Training, and Development Institute, could address the ill-effects of inbreeding. The concerned agencies are not merely intended as facilitators in import-to-sell or distribute transactions.
In 2004, when the commodity was under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Plant Industry, a large number of queen bees were offered for sale after allegations of widespread American foulbrood brood infestation.
The prognosis was hoax, because beekeepers still exist in the Cordillera, in fact the most productive in the country. Obviously, this is a handiwork of enterprising people with links to the purported experts.
The haul done in 2019 was with the participation of the Bureau of Plant Industry and NARTDI, according to a Facebook post captioned: “Agyaman kami NARTDI DMMMSU, and DA-BAI…”
The Beekeepers Association of the Philippines, Inc. was never consulted about this. No related topics were ever tackled in meetings conducted prior, during, and after procurement, as well as distribution.
While said items were sold earlier, these were given free. However, the selection of recipients was to the liking of DA-BAI and NARTDI, as no information about criteria or mechanics of dispersal was proffered by NARTDI personnel.
Importing of bees is a welcome opportunity for merchants, but at what cost to practitioners on the ground? It results in untold miseries, indigent folks not well poised in battling due to absence of science-based evidences, since authorities opt to be so engrossed about “felt needs” over real needs.
This is compounded by numerous negative performances of introduced plant and animal species that are often attributed as vectors of contagions, even mutate to afflict human beings, of yet unknown treatment.
“I therefore conclude that these are outcomes of specimens that leaked out from experiment laboratories,” propounded Fred Wallis, a participant to the beekeeping forums.
Moreover, worth noting is the 2004 incident was followed by the meningococcemia outbreak scare that gripped Baguio that prompted tourists, passersby, and returning residents to avoid the place. In like manner, the purchase made early last year precedes the current rampage of Covid-19 aggravating whatever damage of new castle’s disease, African swine fever, and bird flu. — ALVIN AYUGAT, BAPI vice president, Baguio City