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Beekeeping challenged by misuse of pesticides and retreating forests


The 11th international conference of Arab Beekeepers Union and the 10th Conference of the Beekeeping Federation of Mediterranean Countries opened on October 5 in the Shouf town of Jieh under the title, ‘Let’s Bee United’. The conference, sponsored by President Michel Aoun, was organized in cooperation with the Lebanon Industry Value Chain Development (LIVCD) funded by USAID, the main donor for the local bee sector. General Shamil Rukuz representing President Aoun, stressed that despite its importance, the bee sector faces several challenges worldwide and in Lebanon for many reasons. These include notably, the misuse of agricultural and herbal pesticides; degradation of pasture land due to cutting of trees, wild fires and the construction boom; the cutting of citrus trees after failing to export citrus products, and the lack of adequate support to beekeepers and associations involved in the bee industry. For his part, the Chargé d'Affaires of the US Embassy Edward White, said that the US Government supports Lebanon’s national economy through emerging sectors, like the honey industry, stressing that such investments help raise the income of the rural population. A USAID statement mentioned that in the past few years, the agency helped more than 1500 beekeepers to buy 6300 beehives and increase their production, noting that the value of honey sales in the country increased from USD 4.5 to 6.3 million over the last five years. On the sidelines of the conference, General Rukuz launched the National Honey Day which will last for three days and will receive some 500 beekeepers from Lebanon, Europe, the Mediterranean and the Arab countries, to come and learn about the latest technologies in beekeeping and honey making. (Al Diyar, October 5)

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