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With this brief introduction to Beekeeping in Asia, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations continues its programme of publications on apiculture which was initiated in early 1986 with the publication of Tropical and Sub-Tropical Apiculture. Two other volumes respectively entitled: A Practical Guide to Bee Pest and Diseases in Asia and Beekeeping in Latin America, will be published shortly, and it is hoped that other topical volumes will follow.

The potential that beekeeping offers to agriculture, rural employment, nutrition and income generation in developing countries is substantial. Honey provides a valuable food. Beeswax has many uses at home and in industry. Bees are important pollination agents and thus aid crop production. Beekeeping need not interfere with other rural farm activities. The whole family can be involved. The required inputs can be substantially produced locally.

In a continent as vast as Asia, differences in climate, levels of agricultural development, and bee races are so variable that no one book can cover all beekeeping situations. The author of this study draws heavily on his experiences with European honeybees introduced into northern Thailand, but he also discusses the principal features of beekeeping activities in the other zonal and socio-cultural contexts in Asia at different stages of development.

Both the experienced beekeeper and the novice will find a mine of useful information, guidance and suggestions in the publication and it is for this reason that FAO hopes that it will be a useful contribution to the economic development of the most populous continent in the world,

M.S.O. Nicholas
Agricultural Services Division

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