By ANTONIO G. PAPA, Ph.D.

The Cavite State University–College of Arts and Sciences (CvSU–CAS) Bee Program supports the instruction, research, extension, and production functions of the University.

It promotes the practice of beekeeping in the province of Cavite and nearby provinces (CAS, 2021). The leaflet of CvSU–CAS details the following narratives:

“It also conducts research to improve beekeeping practices, and post-harvest technologies. Research results are disseminated to the community and are likewise utilized for instruction purposes.

“It also functions to extend assistance to starting beekeepers so as to strengthen the stakeholders’ background and eventually lead them in running successful apiaries and/or meliponaries.

“The program has been funded by the Department of Agriculture–Bureau of Agricultural Research (DA–BAR) from 2014–2017 and is a recognized partner of the BEENET Philippines––the largest association of beekeepers in the country, and the Asian Apicultural Association Philippines.

“From 2018 to date, the program is functioning as a research and extension arm of the CvSU–College of Arts and Sciences (CvSU–CAS), one of the ten Colleges in the main Campus of CvSU in Indang, Cavite.

“The Community Adoption and Strengthening of the CvSU–CAS Bee Program is the adoption of the CvSU-DA-BAR-funded project titled ‘Establishment of the CvSU Bee Program.’ It is one of the extension programs of the College under the CAS-CARES’ R&D Agenda.

“The goal is to strengthen the CvSU Bee Program by furthering research and extension endeavors on beekeeping and ecological entrepreneurship.”

A beekeeping adopter transferring a feral colony of stingless bees using Bao Technology.

Program components

According to Albert Einstein, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.”

For the sake of continued existence of men, the Cavite State University (CvSU), through the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS), exerts concerted efforts to maintain the Apiary Project so that the bees will not disappear in Indang, Cavite, and its nearby communities.

The CvSU–CAS bee program has the following components, namely: 1) BEEyond the Hive, 2) “Iwi System”/“Bahay para sa Lukot” Project, and 3) Kapit BEEsig––the Cooperator System.

BEEyond the Hive. The BEEyond the hive component is an introduction to beekeeping projects. It is a two–day training–seminar with hands–on activities on introduction to beekeeping. Further, this also aims to produce responsible beekeepers that will promote conservation of the environment. This involves the conduct of a training-seminar on introduction to beekeeping with hands-on activity.

During the pandemic, this is done through webinars and followed up through farm visits. Technical assistance is given to the trainees on beekeeping management even after the seminars. Trainee-adopters are also expected to share their experiences on beekeeping to other trainees and help in the beekeeping community of the province, and in the Philippines as well.

Iwi System/Bahay para sa Lukot. The iwi system and/or bahay para sa lukot project are the initial bee colonies or hive boxes being lent to the trainees who are interested to start beekeeping but do not have initial funds. Beekeeping requires a substantial amount of capital to start a small meliponary. This component was crafted to help the farmers/beekeepers start with few colonies.

The CvSU Bee Program will lend start-up colonies––stingless bee colonies––to the trainees, or if feral colonies are available, hive boxes will be given to the beekeeper. After a year, when the colonies are splitted, the start-up colonies will be returned to the CvSU Bee Program, to be used again by other interested trainees.

Donation of CvSU to an adopter (rightmost) of “Bahay para sa lukot.”

Kapit BEEsig. The kapit BEEsig is the cooperator system where assistance is given to the CvSU Bee Prorgam adopters in establishing their meliponaries and in selling their products. The CvSU Bee Program will assess, and monitor the quality of the products produced by the beekeepers to be sold in the market.

The CvSU Bee Program will help in marketing the products of its adopters. Training on post-harvest technologies, production of other value-added products from bees like soap, lotion, hand-sanitizer, packaging and marketing of the products are being conducted.

The products from faculty and students’ researches, include: 1) anti–microbial beauty soap, 2) propolis extract, 3) liquid soap with propolis extract, and 4) stingless bee honey extractor.

A participant doing the hands-on splitting of stingless bee colonies.

Webinar series

The COVID–19 pandemic did not deter the CvSU–CAS bee program in reaching out the potential adopters of beekeeping endeavor in the country. In fact through a webinar series titled “BEEyond the Hive Webinar Series” was recently conducted.

After the webinar series, more participants expressed their willingness to immediately start beekeeping in their respective places – with the assistance and guidance of the CvSU–CAS Bee Program and by the CvSU-Extension Services.

Through the webinar series, the CvSU Bee Program of the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) was introduced and beekeeping in Cavite and other parts of the country was promoted.

The topics by episode and the resource persons include: “Episode 1 – Let’s BEEgin: Ang Pagbububuyog at ang CvSU Bee Program” by Prof. Michelle Bono, CvSU Bee Program Leader; “Episode 2 – “Ang Pag-aalaga ng Lukot (Stingless Bee Rearing)” by Prof. Dickson Dimero, CvSU Bee Program staff; “Episode 3 – All About Honeybees (Ang Pag-aalaga ng Laywan)” by Alberto Marcia of Albee’s Apiaries Enterprises.

Other topics discussed include: “Episode 4 – Bee Plants and Pollination” by Dr. Cleofas Cervancia of the UPLB Bee Program; “Episode 5 – BEEsness Opportunities: Mga Produkto sa Pagbububuyog” by Lee Gaitana of PIA’s Bee Farm; and “Episode 6 – BEE Prepared: Mga Isyu at Konsern sa Pagbububuyog” by Prof. Michelle Bono.

During the last episode, all of the five resource persons were present to answer the questions posed by interested participants during the open forum. According to Dimero, “each episode recorded around 400 views and some of them posted their positive comments, suggestion and requests for assistance in putting up Beekeeping Project in their respective communities.

Likewise, CvSU–CAS bee program reports that they have conducted 11 training–seminars titled “BEEyond the Hive: Introduction to Beekeeping” from the last quarter of 2015, with a total of 692 participants, where 40 of them have established their own apiary project.

Exhibits of CvSU–CAS Bee Program during the International Meliponine Conference and Asian Apicultural Association (AAA) Philippines’ Symposium held at the Social Garden of the University of the Philippines Los Baños, College, Laguna.

Awards received

The CvSU Bee Program has presented papers to local, regional, national, and international conferences. These presentations include extension papers and bee-related research papers conducted by the faculty and students. It has also received several awards and recognition of its presentations, posters, and even the honey products that it produced.

The Beekeepers’ Network Philippines Foundation, Inc. (BEENET) gave a certificate of recognition to the CvSU–CAS Bee Program during the 25 th BEENET Philippines Conference for extending beekeeping activities in the province of Cavite and for the program’s support in the Philippine beekeeping industry.

Also, the CvSU Bee Program’s stingless bee honey won first place in the “Best Tasting Honey” contest during the said conference, which were participated by beekeepers in the Philippines held on July 24-26, 2019.

In 2020, the Program received the ¨Best Tasting Honey––3rd place during an International Conference held last Feb. 25-28, 2020 at UPLB.

In 2019, 2017 and 2015, the CvSU Bee Program won the Best Extension Paper, Best Poster and 3 rd Place Best Paper, respectively, in the CvSU Annual Research and Extension In-House Review.

It also won the Best Extension Paper––1 st Place during the 32nd Regional Symposium on Research, Development, and Extension Highlights sponsored by the Southern Tagalog Agriculture, Aquatic and Resources Research Development and Extension Consortium (STAARRDEC held at Balar Events Place, Balaring, Boac, Marinduque on October 10-11, 2019.

Photos courtesy of CvSU–CAS

For further information, contact Professor Michelle Bono, Program Leader, College of Arts and Sciences, Cavite State University, Indang 4122 Cavite at telephone no. (046) 415-0010; cellphone no. 0917-524-2071; and e-mail address: chelbono@yahoo.com.ph