15 Mar 2006

Pacific beekeepers explore ways to boost industry

2:07 pm on 15 March 2006

Beekeepers from Pacific Island countries are meeting in Rakiraki in Fiji this week to discuss how to make the most of a growing honey industry.

The Forum Secretary General, Greg Urwin, says beekeeping and honey production have been identified as key business activities in a number of Pacific Islands.

In Fiji alone, figures from Fiji's Ministry of Agriculture show that 200 tonnes of honey were harvested in 2005 and the forecast for 2006 is 250 tonnes.

This is still short of the 300 tonnes demanded annually, with the balance being met through imports from Australia, New Zealand, China and India.

The regional workshop is part of a drive to increase quality honey production and to boost the capacity of producers to tap into niche markets.

Disease-free honey attracts high demand in overseas and regional markets, as well as from national tourism industries.