KUDAT: Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Yahya Hussin has urged the Agriculture Department and relevant agencies to study the actual cause for the collapse of the bee colony, particularly the Apis Cerana species, which has caused a decline in the production of honey in the state.
He said, there were many assumptions to the phenomenon, some said it was linked to climate change and the rapid clearing of land to make way for commercial farming.
"Throughout the 10th Malaysia Plan, the production of local honey has drastically dropped which is caused by bees leaving their hives or disappearing for no apparent reason. This instance is similar to the 'Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD)' occurring in most western countries.
"Thus, I greatly hope that the Agriculture Department and relevant agencies would study on the issue to ensure the sustainability of the bee farming industry, while increasing the production of pure honey in the state," he said.
Yahya, who is also Sabah Minister of Agriculture and Food Industry, said this in his speech text that was read by state Agriculture and Food Industry Assistant Minister Datuk Haji Musbah Jamli at the launching ceremony of the Borneo Honeybee Centre (BHBC), in Sikuati, near here today.
In the effort to further enhance the honey industry in the state, Yahya also urged relevant departments to enforce present laws to monitor unplanned agricultural activities that affect the environment, ensuring that the habitat for bee farming is protected.
"As forests are the natural habitat of bees, thus, we also need to increase public awareness on the importance of conserving the environment, especially in preserving tropical forests. If not, plants and forest trees will be destroyed, resulting in the bee's food source to decline and affecting the production of honey," he said.
Yahya said, although there were signs of the return of Apis Cerana bees, Koperasi Pembangunan Desa (KPD) should spearhead a new industry related to honey bees.
"Lately, the kelulut or trigona honey (stingless bee honey) has showed encouraging potential in the honey production industry, and many rural residents have also shown interest to take up bee farming.
"Thus, focus should be given on the development of the kelulut honey industry as it is easier to manage and the price is higher compared to other types of honey," he said. - BERNAMA