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Fourth Asian Apicultural Association Conference

KATHMANDU, CAPITAL CITY OF NEPAL, was host to the Fourth AAA Conference in March 1998.

The conference took place over five days, the first two on the Himalaya Hotel, devoted to workshops on beekeeping extension and honeybee diseases.

The main Conference, opened by the Minster of State for Agriculture, then took place in a large Convention Centre in Kathmandu, together with Exhibition.  

There were abundant opportunities to learn about the state of Asian apiculture: 55 oral papers were presented, and 62 posters submitted. In addition there were impromptu talks, debates, videos and meetings of groups sharing special interests. The Proceedings of the Conference will soon be available, published by ICIMOD.

CONFERENCE CONCLUSIONS

Throughout Asia, great strides are being made in modernising beekeeping with indigenous and exotic honeybee species in different eco-geographic zones. However, due to constraints such as lack of basic infrastructure, research, training and extension facilities, the beekeeping industry in Asia still requires considerable support.

- AAA resolves that for further development of beekeeping in Asia, co-ordinated and systematic efforts should be made to establish training and research centre for Asian bees and beekeeping in the region. Such centre should have continuing, internationally-funded programme in beekeeping training and research.

Apis cerana is vital component of our natural ecosystem. However, natural populations of Apis cerana are suffering precipitous decline and the species is threatened with extinction. Keeping this in view, conservation of Apis cerana is essential for the maintenance of biodiversity.

  -AAA resolves that international organisations encourage projects to conserve this genetic resource by promoting Apis cerana beekeeping.

In some parts of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, productive sub-species and geographic ecotypes of Apis cerana with commercial potential similar to Apis mellifera have been identified. 

- AAA resolves that further research work on Apis cerana: genetic diversity, selection and testing based on economic and biological characters be continued under similar environmental conditions on regional basis

Beekeeping extension is process by which skills and knowledge are exchanged. There is need for greater understanding of how best to carry out this process.

- AAA resolves that an extension network be formed.

The beekeeping project in ICIMOD has made significant progress on various aspects of beekeeping with Apis cerana. These include the comparative advantage of Apis cerana as pollinator; bee botany and melissopalynology; genetic diversity research; appropriate technologies such as the straw hive and Jumla top-bar hive; and farmer-participatory extension in beekeeping

- AAA resolves that these significant findings be tested and disseminated widely. 

- AAA recommends to the Member Countries that policies on fair marketing of bee products are formulated and implemented to the benefit of farmers and users. 

Considering that beekeeping is an important, income-generating, eco-friendly activity and the important role that honeybees play in boosting the productivity of mountain crops and conserving biodiversity through pollination, beekeeping R&D programmes fit very well into ICIMOD's mandate and assigned functions. 

- AAA resolves that ICIMOD should continue the Research, Training and Extension Support Programme in its participating countries at regional level.

CONGRATULATIONS

The Conference was organised jointly by the Asian Apicultural Association, and the International Centre for integrated Mountain Development, ICIMOD.

AAA warmly acknowledges the valuable financial and logistical support provided by ICIMOD in organising the Fourth Conference.

Well done to all concerned for very smoothly arranged meeting, giving everyone attending the opportunity to share experiences.

The next AAA Conference will take place in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in March 2000. B&D will bring you details as soon as they are available.

EXPLANATION PLEASE!

ICIMOD The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development is regional organisation focusing specifically on the unique problems and opportunities for development in the mountains of the Hindu Kush Himalaya. This mountain range extends from Afghanistan in the West to China in the East. People in this region are often living in remote places and farming under difficult conditions: ICIMOD undertakes research and information sharing within the region. For the past five years ICIMOD has included beekeeping component within its activities, funded by the Federal] Chancellery of Austria.

Promote Apis cerana!

AT THE CONFERENCE the Beekeeping Technology Chapter made proposal to AAA that an ad hoc group for the promotion of Apis cerana beekeeping be recognised.

A meeting considered the problems that have hindered the development and promotion of Apis cerana beekeeping up to now.

Immediate Action

The immediate action plan is to establish network for everyone who is interested to work on the promotion of Apis cerana beekeeping.

To be most effective, Members must have apiaries with minimum of 20 colonies of Apis cerana. This will enable Members to conduct simple observations and experiments within an “Asia wide co-ordinated honeybee management programme”. The colonies should be managed to produce honey, and honey production will be considered the prime objective of the whole exercise. For this purpose it is important to keep accurate records and documentation should be available to all Members at any time.

Dr Punchihewa was appointed Co-ordinator for the “Promotion of Apis cerana Beekeeping Group”, and was requested to outline future action programme.

Group Members are: 

China: Professor Kuang Bangyu, Mr Tan Ken

India: Dr Mattu, Mr Roy

Japan: Professor Yoshida

Nepal: Dr Saville, Mr Shrestha

Sri Lanka: Dr Punchihewa

Thailand: Dr Sirinun Aemprapa, Professor Wongsiri

Vietnam: Dr Ching, Mr Hanh.

The following participated as observers at the inaugural meeting:

Dr Ernst Huttinger, Dr Hermann Pechhacker (Austria)

Dr Otto Boecking (Germany) P

rofessor Mitsuo Matsuka, AAA President Japan

Dr Nicola Bradbear, Ms Nell Holt-Wilson (United Kingdom)

Any interested person please contact Dr RW Punchihewa  E-mail punchirw@slit.Ik