02.03.2010

Busy bee won’t help to beekeeping in Kazakhstan

By SERGEY ABAKSHIN

“Hunger is the best teacher”

Latin proverb

Beekeeping is related to definite sphere of agricultural production where Kazakhstan has great potential and big chance of competitiveness at the world market. Although, as the reality shows, we have lost the positions and best practices we had in Soviet times. As the result neighboring Kyrgyzstan is honey exporter, don’t mention about China, but Kazakhstan is not.

2010 03 03 pzhelkoFormally, we cannot say that our state is not concerned on beekeeping questions. There’s the acting law “On beekeeping”. It stated: “Beekeeping is the sphere of agricultural production, which is based on functioning of breeding, maintenance and usage of bees for pollination entomophilic plants and increasing their productivity”. Actually akimates don’t levy taxes on the owners of apiaries. Entomophilic plants are those that are pollinated by insects.

However, the bee didn’t become a kind of usual domestic insect as it became in Kyrgyzstan. Official statistics didn’t show real picture of the industry and specialists say that volume of honey production and consumption is understated; although, there is common orienteer in the form of honey consumption of 3,5 ounces per person per year. Russia has index of 14,1 ounces per person per year. And if you’ll take Moscow alone you’ll see index of 4,4 pounds per person per year.

Mass media market development, for example, is retarded by legislation (foreigner cannot have more than 20% of shares of any mass media); beekeeping is industry extremely far from politics. Uzbekistan has many NGOs busy with human rights and freedom of speech problems but international NGOs on beekeeping questions have nothing to complain. Honey export from Uzbekistan is growing also in Kazakhstani market.

Experts blame huge volume of oil in problems of national beekeeping. When economy received billion of petrodollars competent authorities decided that beekeeping and such derivatives as: honey, wax, pharmaceutical and cosmetic compositions are uninteresting to be busy with. It’s clear that even highly developed beekeeping through whole Kazakhstan wouldn’t exceed in profit Tengiz or Karachaganak taken individually. However, this industry has many social-economic opportunities and advantages.

Situation shows that beekeeping industry creates quite viable lines in distant rural agricultural regions of Kyrgyzstan. If we’re talking about Kazakhstan, the population of residential places that are far away from big transport arteries such as Astana – Almaty and Almaty – Taldykorgan has a great chance to add to depressive suburbs of big cities. Beekeeping along with cattle breeding and crop science are able to hold population at their places.

Production base for beekeeping in our country is simply colossal. Just look at endless carpets of flowers when local forb steppe is full of bees in spring-summer period. There are huge opportunities in mountainous regions of East Kazakhstan. Even if we won’t pay attention to honey, we cannot do the same with the bee, it is very important for increasing of different food crops and forage grass production.

Actually the main center of honey production in the Republic is Kazakhstani part of Altai region. In 2000th years population had slightly went out of 90th devastation, Republic started to receive petrodollars and Altai’s beekeepers responded to increasing of effective demand with substantial annual increase in production. However, it happened not only at Altai region. Though, as well as the other local market players they prefer to get profit not by reducing costs and increasing volumes, but with prices rising.

It worked for some times as the offer fell behind from the demand. Nowadays Kazakhstan gets production from Kyrgyzstan, China, Uzbekistan, Europe and even Latin America. Mono-flower honey derived from a single plant species is a weak point of Kazakhstani honey producers. Therefore Altai’s honey brings consumers into ecstasy by the huge variety of melliferous plants. There are more than 200 melliferous plants that allow bees to create wonderful mixes in Altai.

In USSR, i.e. in Kazakhstan, beekeeping was developed by a conservative way. That means through a system of alvearies, which is not allowing mechanization and intensification of labour. Howver, along with this there were works on pedigree, institutes and research centers were functioning, which supplied qualified personnel. Nowadays alvearies and apiaries (stationery and moving) have left, but everything else has gone. As the result even in Eastern Kazakhstan, the main honey producing region, most of apiarists are self-educated.

Low volumes of production are making the market uninteresting from the side of procurement and distribution companies. They need hundreds of tons of supplies, which they then turning into 10 gram packs and sending in retail networks. Again, prices of Kazakh honey producers, which are twice higher than global ones, are not establishing needed attractibility.

Another sharp problem is non-qualitative honey and faulty products. By buying substandard honey under brands of established companies once or twice, a consumer is more likely to abandon next purchase, then to take pains to find qualitative products. At that the honey is usually utilized in culinary goods in local structure of nutrition, such as chak-chak and honey cakes, and in periods of seasonal diseases. Basically, there is no culture of intensive honey consumption.

Qualities of bees have also decreased for the last two decades. In chase of spring honey they delivered many mixed breeds from the South of the country and from Kyrgyzstan to Eastern Kazakhstan. As the result, from one side they got more earlier honeyflow, and from the other new hybrid breeds of bees appeared to be unprepared for long Altay winters and unresisting to diseases. It appeared to be backward breeding, when new crossed breeds absorbed worse qualities of their parents. To improve the situation in this question there are professionals, knowledge, finance, time and competent governmental policy are required.

Most realistically, real state interest to beekeeping would wake up not earlier than the country would repeat a Tunisian way. Until Tunis had enough of oil, the country developed in grand style and worried little about agricultural sector, which has successful history for thousands of years. Then carbon monoxides have depleted, and Tunis is now living by tourism and agricultural sector. Quite poor, but in a clever way.

7 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Млять, везде у нас один анус... даже с медом.

  2. Anonymous

    Ужо укусит жжужалка. В глас

  3. Anonymous

    Нет. Ануса с медом не нада!!!!

  4. oliver

    Sounds enteresting. Kazakhstani government seem to trying to put down every little business which was good in Soviet time.

  5. Anonymous

    Хачу медка!!!!

  6. Anonymous

    А холодка?!

  7. Anonymous

    Все время медок не бывает... Нужен и перес