Apiculture: An Art and Science of Honey production
1Nadia Niaz, 2Moeen Ijaz, 3Razia Shabir, *2Ehsan Raza Asif, 2Munawar Abbas
1Department of Food Technology, PMAS-Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi.
2Institute of Soil and Environmental Sciences, University of Agriculture Sciences, Faisalabad.
3Department of Soil Sciences, Bahauddin Zakariya University, Multan.
*Corresponding Author: [email protected]
Apiculture is a science and practice of beekeeping. Apiculture is derived from the Latin word Apis meaning bee. Beekeeping and apiculture contain a synonymous relation between them. For more than 8000 years ago humans have collected honey from wild bee hives. Egyptians started keeping bees in artificial hives. Artificial hives allow apiculturalist to easily move (via boat, wagon, truck) and manipulate bee colonies. This mobility has allowed beekeepers to introduce honeybees around the world: The first hives were brought to the New World in the 1620s by European settlers.
Historically, honey was of the most important commodities of civilized world which included Persia, Rome, Greece, Arabia, India, and Egypt. Review indicates that honey had been part of art and literature. HOLY QURAN gave honey top rank among all the food and diets. In HOLY QURAN SURA 16 is entitled as “THE BEE”. In Holy QURAN Para 14, Sara Nahl, ALLAH Says;
“And Thy Lord inspired the Bee, Saying: Choose Thou Habitations in the Hills and In the Trees and In That Which They Thatch; Then Eat Of All Fruit, And Follows the Ways of Thy Lord, made Smooth. There Cometh Forth From, their bellies a drink diverse of hues, wherein is healing for mankind. LO! Herein is indeed a protent for people who reflect.”
Our Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as saying About Honey;
“Honey is a remedy for all illness of the body, and the Holy Quran is remedy of the mind, therefore I recommended to you both remedies, the Quran and Honey!”
Production scope in world for honey is increasing. Here is the list of major honey producer countries with their contributions for production.
The above referred data has been reported by FAO. Development of organic beekeeping in South Asia countries has been gaining a practice of income generating and livelihood. Most of the landless or small farmers are becoming part of this business in south Asian countries viz., India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Srilanka, Pakistan, and Maldives. Below is the contribution of south Asian countries for honey.
Literature has reported that beekeeping is not only limited to get honey but it also provides number of important byproducts and even address our food security issues (as reported in book titled “Bee product”). Important products are listed below:
- Bee wax
The role of Apiculture is very important for the upliftment of economy and for providing employment mainly to rural population settled in hilly and forest areas. Some other benefits of beekeeping and its by products are given below:
- Honeybees play an important role in agriculture as most of the vegetables are pollinated by them. Even plants that are capable of self-pollination tend to produce in greater quantities when pollinated by the honeybee thus increasing agricultural yields.
- Secondary products are being produced from Beeswax and honey, which offer a wide range of uses in everyday life. Beeswax can be used in candles, cosmetics, lubricants, hair care products, soaps, and even dental floss. Honey is used in a lot of cosmetics, including lip balms and moisturizers.
- Another important use is in scientific research for making bacterial cultures.
- It is also utilized for making poison baits for certain insect pests.
- Apiculture products are used as medicine. Bee pollen has been known to be a natural remedy for allergies and other ailments. Propolis is a special substance that has antibacterial properties and is known to treat pain and other ailments.
- Beekeeping products such as honey, pollen, propolis and royal jelly can be harvested and marketed, which earn a lot of profit.
In the developing countries like Pakistan people are usually landless or small farmer. They are looking for such practices which can generate income and livelihood. So apiculture can be adopted as a profession by the farmers, which not only increase the production of vegetables but also boost up income by export of honey and its by products. Local govt. and NGO’s should take the initiative in this regard by providing technical and financial assistance and training to local community, which will not only improve apiculture practice but also reduce unemployment problem in the country.