11:19 * 30.09.14

The dry climate of the past couple of years has seriously affected
beekeeping industries, essentially reducing the volumes of production.

Speaking to, owners of several beekeeping businesses shared
their concerns over the poor honey yield.

"There was no honey the year before last; we had some last year but
didn't export even a single kilogram of it to Europe, as our product
falls short of meeting European standards," said Telman Nazaryan,
the president of the Beekeepers' Association of Armenia.

The total honey yield, according to him, is not expected to be more
than 100 tons (in Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh together).

Nazaryan attributed the poor quantity to the unfavorable climate
conditions. "This year we saw hails when we didn't expect even rain,
and whenever we expected rain, we saw the sun shining etc. This year
was turned out unlucky, and not favorable for honey," he noted.

Nazaryan further cited a UN survey which revealed a 60% decrease in the
number of bees in Europe and a further 70% decrease in Germany alone.

"The number of bees drops annually by 20%-40% despite the states'
best efforts to boost the sector. And because the things here are in a
state of neglect, the number will increase instead of decreasing. The
state policies in this direction are limited only to words, but that's
absolutely no use," he added.

As a possible solution, the association's president stressed the need
of state investments. "We cannot do anything without money. We have
territories which are very good for beekeeping, and we can produce
eco-honey. All we need is a state support," he added.

Nazaryan remembered that Armenian beekeepers had been earlier honored
with medals in a conference in Kazakhstan. "Their state collaborates
with the association of beekeepers. That's something very important,"
he added.

Asked why the honey quality falls below the export standards,
Nazaryan said he thinks that it's because of beekeepers' failure
or unwillingness to follow specified rules. "Europe requests a big
quantity of honey. But it isn't possible to treat a bee with chemical
substances and at the same time avoid an impact on the honey quality.

It isn't as though we can cheat Europe. A beekeeper should not use
a chemical substance to treat a bee," he said.

Armen Nazaryan, a leading specialist of the association, agreed that
beekeepers often fail to respect the established rules, choosing
instead medications as a cheaper method of treating bees.

As for the realization of honey, he said the inability to sell the
product at once appears really problematic for beekeepers. "Their
money doesn't come at once as they sell the honey in small quantities,"
he noted.

Asked whether the honey yield is enough at least to meet the domestic
market demand, Nazaryan replied, "One person is theoretically supposed
to consume 80-100 grams of honey per day; that makes up 36 kilograms
in annual terms. So the question is, who produces so much honey for
one person in Armenia?"

The specialist proposed considering the medical advantages of
beekeeping. "The question can be put on rails, as we do seriously
have that potential in Armenia," he added.

Ruslan Poghosyan, a beekeeper from Armenia's Syunik region, said that
the summer drought period negatively affected bees' productivity. "I
personally had 50 % less honey this year. And I hear the yield is
even less in other places," he told our correspondent.

He cited the problem of preventive drugs as a major concern in the
sector. "We try to import drugs from abroad, as the drugs here are
not effective at all," he noted.

Another key problem in the area has to do with procurement, the
specialist added. "There's nowhere one can go to hand over the
product. And wherever they receive it, the money paid appears too
little to cover the cost of our work," Poghosyan said.

From: A. Papazian