Environment minister promotes beekeeping cause in the Kingdom

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Community beekeeping in Kampong Cham province earlier this year. PHOTO SUPPLIED

Environment Minister Say Samal has championed the cause of community beekeeping and the diversification of bee products in Cambodia. He emphasises these initiatives as crucial to improving local living conditions and altering attitudes towards deforestation and hunting, thereby conserving biodiversity.

Samal’s call came during a consultation on June 7, which aimed to sketch out a national plan for sustainable beekeeping and wild honey conservation in Cambodia. Other prominent figures such as Sardar Umar Alam, the UNESCO representative in Cambodia, Ministry of Environment leaders, institutional representatives, and various partner organisations also participated.

Samal stressed the improvement of local communities’ livelihoods as one of the ministry’s priorities. The diverse benefits that stem from wild honey conservation, beekeeping, and the production of honey and related goods include job creation and improvement of community livelihoods.

“The success of natural resource protection and biodiversity conservation hinges on local communities having stable income and prosperous living conditions,” Samal said.

The minister also advocated for further focus on community beekeeping, honey product diversification and branding. He highlighted the necessity of research into which trees, groves, and flowers produce the highest quality and most desirable honey.

“The public views honey as a medicine, when it should be regarded as an essential daily source of proteins, vitamins, amino acids, minerals, and organic acids for bodily growth. Khmer honey products must be able to satisfy both local and international market needs,” he urged.

The UNESCO representative to Cambodia pointed out the significance of the honey value chain as a critical means for many Cambodian communities to improve their livelihoods. Alam highlighted the untapped potential of Cambodia in developing honey price chains and gaining access to higher-value markets globally.

“The development of scientific data, research, and sustainable beekeeping necessitate the strengthening of technical knowledge and institutional capacity,” he said.

According to Samal, Cambodia has three primary tasks to meet both domestic and international market demands: national bee breeding and conservation planning, local market identification, and extensive promotion of these products.