Bee farming development in Mongolia

T.Tuya

Mongolians have been using bee products since long ago even though  bee farming did not develop as traditional farm in Mongolia, country with severe climate of platform zone   where nomadic cattle breeding has been run. Such  facts have been put down to folklores, folk tales, legendaries as well as in literature. For example, Italian tourist Marco Polo travelled in Mongolia in the 12th Century and Wilhelm de Rubruck mentioned in their records that Mongolians used honey.

Before Mongolian National Revolution of 1921, bees were raised in place called Udleg nearby capital city for Monarch  Bogdo`s fare. Also, buriats and russians who lived in area of Onon and Ulz rivers, had few bees and even used bee products.

In 1957, 7 persons for the first time from Mongolia went to Buriat of Russian Federation  to take beekeeper`s course and they have completed their study in 1958. That has become a groundwork of preparation and training of the specialists in this field.

In 1959, 20 sets of bees (bee colonies) were brought form Buriyat and started to be raised in Shaamar soum of Selenge province. It was beginning of the modern fee farming for which modern beehives wit many frames are used. Since then, bees of middle russian and georgian breed from former Soviet Union were brought and started to be raised in some soums of provinces such as Selenge, Khentii, Arkhangai and Central Province which are forest and steppe zone and in soum Khalkh gol of Dornod province since 1960 and 1966, in soums including Bulgan, Mankhan, Zereg of Khovd province and soum Tes of the Uvs province since 1960. So formed condition for bees farming development.

Since 1960, researcher B.Jamts and G.Jaltsaa started research work  in industrial condition, on honeybee keeping, domestication and it has become start of this branch development on scientific and research basis. In 1967, Doctor G.Ochirbat (Sc.D) identified honey resource discovering  about 230 honey plants in the area of Khentii mountain,  through his research of honey-plants in Mongolia. He stated that it is possible to produce marketable honey, raising 2 millions of bees.

Doctor Kh.Otgonbileg (Ph.D) identified through his research, that utilizing honey plants for bees in the forest  and steppe zones can increase the production two times and using bees as pollinators of the agrarian plants will enable crop yeild increase by 27,5-97,5%.

Since 1974, Doctor D.Selenge (Ph.D) made a valuable contribution producing bee of breed called “Khaliun’ doing research on Carpat breed bees keeping and domestication.

Mongolian beekeepers made contact with Bashkir and Buriat beekeepers and learned from their experiences. For example, scholars namely, Shafikov I.V, Akchurin M.M, Gazizov I and Aznabov from Bashkir, came to our country and extended professional and methodological assistance to Mongolian beekeepers.

A first individual research institution of bee farming was established in 1974 as a result of transferring forestry branch of sea buckthorn and fruits growing, which was located in area of soum Batsumber of the Central province into bee farming.

Mongolian Young Apiarists Association, established in 1977 and Mongolian Apiarists Society which was founded in 1991 are actively operating to develop the bee farming in our country through organizing trainings and promotion activities. In 1982, in implementation of resolution No.304 of the Ministries Council, station of research and production for bee farming was established in soum Batsumber of the Central province. This station is obliged to conduct comprehensive research on bee farming and develop state policy towards development of bee farming. According to the same resolution an apiary, with 800 sets of bees (bee colonies), was founded in soum Shaamar of Selenge province. This apiary was mainly in charge of forming  bee colonies (with fewer stes of bees), producing queen bee with embryo and manufacturing hives, frames and other equipments required for bee farming. Also at this apiary, a number of researches in honey bee breeding, development, domestication, fodder resources, growing pasture for bees, finance structure as well as fighting with disease and pests had been done. This apiary has extended having more than 100 workers, 5000 family bees, 2 equipments producing plants and 5 farms.

Since 1990, there was a condition formed for bee farming to be developed as an individual agricultural branch of Mongolia. Unfortunately due to scarp social transition into market economy, bee farming faced some difficulties. Most of the bee farming closed off and the number of bee colonies (sets of bees) reduced to 800.

Even though there are only a few number of bee colonies, bee farming has been drawing attention of domestic and foreign consumers as the honey produced from them is natural and sources from many different flowers grown in high mountains.

In order to restore and develop bee farming in Mongolia, beekeepers of many generations and many organizations including, Minister of Industry and Agriculture, Mongolian Youth Institution, Mongolian Apiarists Society, World Vision International Organization and Global Environment Facility Small Grants Program agency are playing important roles. So far Mongolian Apiarists Society is running activities such as conducting short and long term courses to train specialists and apiarists for bee farming, have apiarists participate in trade-exhibitions, develop recommendations, manuals and brochures for them, etc. Needs of bee farming and bee products increased amongst citizens and organizations and many local beekeepers association and corporations were formed and now there are 415 nationwide apiarists.

As a result of many organizations initiatives and apiarists` endeavors and government  and public institutions support, bee keeping branch is now at the stage of restoration and envisioned to be developed. All over country, there are now 41 points, where 10 000 bee colonies (sets of bees) are being raised and about 150 tones of honey, propolis, beeswax and other products have been annually produced.

It is aimed to have 30,000 bee colonies (sets of bees) in the nearest years. In order to reach this purpose it is needed to establish queen bees farms at 5 places, have laboratory of bee farming products, prepare specialists and young generation for bee farms and develop this branch as an individual agricultural branch.

To progressively develop this branch in Mongolia, “National program for bee” is being implemented, based upon cluster theory classifying by geographical location and honey plants resources.