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General News of Sunday, 19 April 2015

Source: The Median Newspaper

Beekeeping should be encouraged in Cameroon - Scientist


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A researcher who doubles as Divisional Delegate for Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry for Mbam and Kim, has urged the government of Cameroon to introduce beekeeping courses in the country’s universities.

Mr. Ebai Takang made this recommendation and others at the end of a three-week post-graduate program which he did recently at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Rehovot Campus.

The program, which had a research approach, was organised thanks to fruitful collaboration between the Ministry of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Husbandry (MINEPIA) and the Israeli Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV).

It aimed at providing participants with modern technical know-how in various aspects of apiary management such as pest and disease as well as their control; pollination; supervision of quality control in various aspects of beekeeping and honey types; standardisation of honey types; supplement nutrition; and queen breeding.

Participants were expected at the end of the course to adapt the lessons and skills gained and provide tools to stakeholders engaged in beekeeping such that they can improve beekeeping and honey production in their various regions both quantitatively and qualitatively. They were also expected to propose strategies that would reinforce beekeeping regulations and policies as a way of addressing beekeeping problems in their respective regions.

Classes were held, experiments conducted and research carried out at the university and participants were graded through assignments given them. Professional field trips were also made to apiaries in the north, south and centre of Israel where on-the-spot practical skills were gained in queens breeding; in the harvesting, processing, packaging and labeling of honey; in treatment and control methods; in pollination techniques; amongst others.

Tarkang told The Median upon return to Cameroon that he presented his final project on the topic “Varroa mite future threat in Apiculture in Cameroon, Bhutan and India” and earned an ‘A’ grade with a score of 98%. He said he and his fellow participants received the following certificates at the end of the course: the end of the post-graduate certificate, the JERUSALEM PILGRIM certificate, and the MASHAV membership certificate.

Recommendations

Based on the knowledge gained and given Cameroon’s present artisanal and traditional status in beekeeping practices with low production in terms of quality and quantity, and also considering the country’s potentials in this sector, the researcher made the proposals below to help boost commercial beekeeping in the country.

He proposed the imperativeness of beekeeping courses to be introduced in training centres and universities all over the country.

While the continuous training of trainers abroad should be encouraged, Tarkang further argued, there should equally be training of trainers at home in order to efficiently ensure the implementation of the management techniques acquired in the field. This exercise, he said, should involve extension workers, chiefs of centre, etc.

Furthermore, the researcher recommended that beekeeping regulations should be reinforced in terms of the creation of apiaries. He also called for the setting up of local standards, of a monitoring plan for apiaries, and of a monograph for residues; the creation of a honey board to assist the government in implementing these standards and other duties; and the putting in place of a residue or food safety laboratory for eventual accreditation.

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