The Beekeeping for Rural Development Commission was very active during the 44th Congress in Daejeon, with one main Plenary Session and twelve Symposia, providing opportunity for speakers from 40 nations to present their work. The participants and the topics covered, showed that this Commission is nowadays concerned not only with beekeeping in financially poor countries, but as a modern profession that forms part of peoples’ lives in all regions.
New topics covered possibilities to use crowd funding to kick start beekeeping projects, and the growing importance of api-tourism as a way for people to add diversity to their beekeeping. This was the topic of our Plenary Session, where Mr Gladstone Solomon of Trinidad & Tobago presented his experiences of running Beekeeping Safaris to Tobago for over twelve years. These bee-themed holidays provide excellent opportunity for beekeepers to meet and learn from one another. Also in the Plenary, Nick Bishop, from the UK, discussed his experience of working as a commercial beekeeper amongst London’s skyscrapers: his advice – never to site bees higher than 26 storeys! During the week we heard also from beekeepers and roof-top gardeners working in major cities, including Seoul, Kyoto (with Apis cerana), Canberra and others.
The Plenary session was held in one of the venue’s very large halls, where the huge size hindered discussion. Fortunately, the twelve Symposia were held in what we, by the end of the week, considered ‘our’ more intimate room, usually with around 100 people attending each Symposium and enabling lively and worthwhile discussion between delegates.
Sustainability of different beekeeping endeavours was much discussed, and of course the status of Asian honey bee species. An interesting challenge was presented by Dr Dennis Anderson, describing his efforts to improve beekeeping in the United Arab Emirates from its current non-sustainable status, typified by the need to import bee stocks every year. At this Congress there was such a wide range of speakers describing fresh approaches to beekeeping, for example making the most from value addition, and renewed appreciation of beekeepers as custodians of biodiversity. It is difficult to pick out papers that stood out from so many excellent presentations, however I will mention just two more that greatly engaged the audience: one was presented by Dr Cristina Pavel of Romania, in which she described how apitherapy is now mainstreamed in some Romanian hospitals and utilised by registered doctors, and another was by Dr Merel Kekeҫolu, who described long term research in Turkey, now proving that integration of beekeeping activities into the curriculum of primary schools results in improvement of students’ cognitive awareness skills.
One major outcome was a Resolution, instigated by Dr John Kefuss, for international collaboration in the establishment of honey bee germplasm banks for honey bees, to ensure that honey bee species and races are preserved, with identical banks held in different continents.
Our Korean hosts had generously sponsored many participants from African nations, and it was excellent to have so many people from Africa participating in discussions throughout the various Congress events.
News and images from the 44th Congress in Korea are in the December 2015 edition of Bees for development Journal.
Dr Nicola Bradbear, December 2015
Bees for development founder and director Dr Nicola Bradbear is also President of the APIMONDIA Scientific Commission for Beekeeping & Rural Development.
Find out more about APIMONDIA, The International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations at www.apimondia.com