Laos and Vietnam are to begin cooperation in a commercial beekeeping trial to boost honey production in Champassak province.
After the trial, the cooperative project under the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) will be able to supply beehives and training to local apiarists.
National Project Director of the Sustainable Natural Resources Management and Productivity Enhancement Project, Mr Vinoth Vansy, told Vientiane Times that Vietnam is providing 250 beehives for the trial in Champassak province.
The trial is looking to locate hives where the province’s bees typically make honey, he said.
They expect to know the best areas for honey production after the end of this year.
According to the provincial Agriculture and Forestry Department, Vietnam is currently supplying large quantities of honey to EU countries.
The number of beekeepers in Champassak has declined in recent years due to insufficient market demand with some people abandoning their beehives and leaving them to the wild.
Today, some bottles of honey can be seen for sale in markets with the honey being sourced from the wild by local people.
Some Vientiane consumers are distrustful of local products believing it is blended with imported honey or other ingredients such as sugar and water.
They think that because there are now fewer beehives people are taking shortcuts to ensure sufficient supplies.
However, honey from the southern provinces is still in reasonable supply across the country, even though the peak honey season only occurs in April and May. At this time honey can be seen on sale in many markets, restaurants, guesthouses and hotels by the bottle or jarful.
People have varied uses for honey and it is a popular household ingredient. Many people put half a spoonful into bottled water to give it flavour while others use the honey as a healing product.
A common belief in Vientiane is that honey has a calming effect ensuring a good night’s sleep.
Honey is a natural product which is a safe and wholesome food for adults, children and the elderly. Apart from its great taste and general capacity for enhancing well-being, honey is a healthy substitute for sugar and can help combat obesity and diabetes.
Source: Vientiane Times