May 20, 2024 - Asia

Madhu Duniya 2023: A Coming Together for Asian Honey and Bees 

The fifth run of the Madhu Duniya Asian Forest Honey and Native Bee Conference was held last November 6-8, 2023 in Ho Chih Minh City followed by a field visit to an Apis cerana beekeeping site and rafter beekeeping at the U Minh Ha National Park, Cà Mau Province, Vietnam.  

The conference attracted 123 attendees from various corners of the world, particularly from Australia, Cambodia, France, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, USA, Germany, and Vietnam. The gathering proved to be a fruitful exchange of ideas and experiences, leading to potential collaborations and action in the shared work of conserving bees and protecting forests. 

Representatives who came were composed of honey hunters, community members, producers, conservationists, researchers, support groups and enthusiasts. They actively immersed themselves in the world of Asian forest honey and bees to share and exchange knowledge on the latest news, issues, trends, and practices in the sector. The experts from different fields shared valuable insights into the art of beekeeping, including sustainable practices, conserving bee habitats, and the importance of bees in maintaining ecological balance.  

The sessions and learning workshops reflected the beekeeping community’s inclusive nature and gave space for countries to share updates on what is abuzz at the local levels, as well as for sharing of inputs and news on what is happening at the regional and global contexts.  

Apart from the country-specific updates and presentations from Southeast and South Asia, the 5th Madhu Duniya also tackled policy contexts related to bees and honey. In particular, we heard from the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity about the connection of bee habitat conservation to the National Biodiversity Strategic Action Plans (NBSAP) at the regional level. The FAO also presented a global policy status on bees and honey. In terms of marketing and honey protocols, there was a panel presentation featuring the Forest Harvest Collective Mark (FHCM), Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS), Indigenous labeling, and the ASEAN Protocols on Forest Honey as included in the ASEAN Guidelines for Sustainable Harvest and Resource Management Protocols for Selected NTFPs.  

Furthermore, sessions on climate and changing landscapes zoomed in on presentations such as the effect of pesticides on bees and what actions can be taken to address these. There were also presentations about how honey gatherers in Indonesia are using an app to monitor bee population and their nests. In Vietnam, they shared about the geographical distribution of the giant honey bee Apis laboriosa. The case presentations provided much inspiration and strengthened the call to action on the advocacy towards bee conservation and supporting indigenous peoples and local communities’ efforts to save the bees and push for sustainable and ethical honey harvesting and marketing. 

Apart from panel presentations, Madhu Duniya also offered break-out interactive sessions where a smaller group of participants could participate in interactive learning workshops and listen to presentations from experts. There were sessions on market and livelihoods and technological and technical aspects of beekeeping and honey processing and production, which provided space for discovery and exploration amongst practitioners and enthusiasts who exchanged observations and practical tips on these important topics. Another highlight of the Madhu Duniya 5 was also the presentation of the results of the pollen analysis from the 2019 Madhu Duniya collection and ways forward on the envisioned pollen atlas initiative of the network. Sharing sessions about research on origin of honeys in the market through pollen grain analysis in Vietnam also provided a country case study on the applications of pollen analysis. A practical session on different analytical methods to analyze pollen was also facilitated, complete with the use of microscopes. 

After the conference proper, the Madhu Duniya organizers also arranged a field trip on November 9-10, allowing participants to visit a commercial Apis cerana beekeeping site in Tien Giang Province and explore the rafter beekeeper community in U Minh Ha National Park. Along with these informative visits, attendees also had the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful sights of the Mekong Delta. 

As we celebrate World Bee Day today, join us in reliving the highlights from the 5th Madhu Duniya Conference as we share presentations from the sessions on climate change and bee population, pollination and pollen analysis, marketing and livelihoods, and policy contexts for honey and bees.

Click the corresponding photo below to access presentation.

November 06, 2023

November 07, 2024

November 08, 2024

Learn more about Madhu Duniya here:

The Madhu Duniya 5 was co-organized by NTFP-EP Asia, NTFP-EP Vietnam and the Southern Institute of Ecology (SIE).  It was made possible with the support from the following: Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC), Green Livelihoods Alliance (GLA), the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), Asian Forest Cooperation Organization (AFOCO), ASEAN-Korea Cooperation Fund (AKCF), Pastor Rice Small Grants Fund (PRSGF) and the Forest and Farm Facility Vietnam 

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