Development Barriers of Stingless Bee Honey Industry in Bicol, Philippines
Beekeeping industry in Bicol, Philippines is dominated by stingless beekeepers. Tetragonula biroi, is an endemic stingless bee species in the region, which produces the most expensive honey in the local commercial market. However, beekeeping industry remains to be part of the informal business sector under the shadow of rural enterprises. Improving the industry’s economic contribution would mean upgrading the chain through which beekeeping sector passes through. The purpose of the study is to assess the barriers in developing the stingless bee honey industry. The value chain approach was used in determining the issues along each chain level and in finding ways to strengthen the competitiveness of the industry. Results show that there is not enough support programs given to sustain the drive towards an efficient commodity flow of honey. The demand is high but there are few enablers to strengthen the flow of the commodity. The findings revealed seven development barriers: stability of honey supply, product standardization; product traceability; harvesting and processing policies; entrepreneurial support program; vulnerability to natural disasters; and research programs. Similar to farming, stingless beekeeping is a promising enterprise that is largely dependent on climatic condition. The risks associated with climate change and environment limit people from seriously pursuing stingless beekeeping as an entrepreneurial venture. To strengthen the industry, stakeholder’s collaboration must be institutionalized to create strong business linkages among the chain operators. The distinctive characteristic of stingless bee honey should be positioned in a market niche that matches its benefit to target users. A review must be done on the provisions in the Code of Good Beekeeping Practices as regards the production chain of raw honey and its by-products to ensure that honey sold is of good quality, with fair price, and easily traceable.
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