The Indian Ocean World Podcast

The Disadvantaged Asian Honeybee

November 15, 2021

Where does your honey come from? Who produces it and who benefits from its consumption?

In this podcast, Dr. Denise Matias (Associate Researcher, Centre for Development Research, University of Bonn) discusses her research into Asian honeybee farming. While predominantly focussing on indigenous practices of honey cultivation in the forests of the Palawan Islands, the Philippines, the podcast sheds awareness on how European standards of wild honey is putting Asian honey at a significant disadvantage in global trade and consumption. The frequent exclusion of Asian honey from Westernized honey markets has been addressed by researchers and NGOs. However, there has been little government initiative to rectify the gap.

As the children of Indigenous honeybee farmers in the Palawan islands continue to be educated away from their traditional lands, their knowledge of traditional honey production dwindles. Reductions in Indigenous knowledge of honey cultivation, combined with the erratic floods and droughts brought forward by climate change, are rapidly shortening the lifespan of the Asian honeybee, as well as reducing the conjugal social-ecological relationship between honeybee farmers and the bees.

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