Bees Abroad at Apimondia, Chile 2023
What is Apimondia?
Every two years the world of beekeeping meets alternately in the Southern and Northern hemispheres. The 2023 Congress was hosted in Santiago, Chile. Richard (Bees Abroad Chair of Trustees) and Jane Ridler (Partnership Manager for Uganda) were there to listen, learn and benchmark our organisation with a focus on beekeeping for rural development.
The theme was sustainable beekeeping from the south of the world. 3,800 people attended from 120 countries over 4 days. There were University researchers (honey bees are the most researched of all insects), bee farmers who make their living from beekeeping, hobby beekeepers and, like us, those engaged in beekeeping for rural development.
What Goes On at Apimondia?
From 9am to 6.30pm and with 4 concurrent streams there were 15 minute presentations of research papers, round table regional discussion forums and round table topic discussion forums. And of course it’s a rare opportunity for networking, we made many new friends and good contacts.
The topic subjects were Apitherapy, Beekeeping Technology and Quality, Bee Biology, Bee Health, Pollination and Bee Flora and Beekeeping for Rural Development. Those who are interested in the technical details can read the research Abstracts in Apimondia Abstract Book.
The regions represented were the Americas, Europe, Asia, Oceania and Africa. Of course there were more attending from South America and particularly Chile.
The Beekeeping for Rural Development Round Table
We heard some fascinating stories. Amongst them about an ex-mining community deep in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia USA, one of the very poorest areas in the USA, a women’s group in Ecuador working with stingless bees, a project in Zimbabwe for women and one in Argentina for young people.
Unsurprisingly everyone had shared challenges, particularly project sustainability, managing expectations about donating equipment and making use of indigenous knowledge.
The African Round Table
It was good to be welcomed in truly African style by the leader David Mukomana from Zimbabwe and the moderator Harum Baiya of South Africa. To be expected there was a stark contrast between this and the European Forum bought into very sharp focus by a video of a recent video by Apimondia representatives to Goma in the DRC where thy had visited a refugee camp and clearly been very shocked.
Honey Adulteration research…
The adulteration of honey is a huge issue which is depressing its price and forcing beekeepers out of business worldwide. Honey is the third most adulterated of all our foods. It matters in Africa too because we want our beekeepers to get the best price or their endeavours. We learn about a really exciting project at Aston University in UK which has the potential to enable analysis of samples with a smartphone just by diluting honey with water and analysing the light passing through it “The method uses a spectral “fingerprint” of bio-chemical components in honey and can detect tampering, contaminants, and even the geographical origin of honey based on the presence of native plant chemicals. This method has already been proven effective and can complement existing methods…”. The full Abstract can be found in the Apimondia Abstract Book.
Congratulations to Tanzania - Apiomodia hosts for 2027
In 2027 Apimondia will be in Africa for the first time. The venue will be Arusha, Tanzania. For now we look forward to Apimondia 2025 in Copenhagen.