Slovenian Bee-keepers Heading to Bangladesh


Experts in apiculture will help honey producers in Bangladesh

Bee-keeping has been an important part of the Slovenian economy for centuries and while bee-keepers have applied recent scientific discoveries to improve their craft, it is one area in which the old traditions endure. In Europe Slovenia’s bee-keepers are highly regarded; in fact, their skills are so well-recognised that the country has earned the nickname ‘the bee-keeper of Europe.’ The father of modern bee-keeping is Anton Jansa, an eighteenth-century pioneer of the apiculturist. Originally trained in art, Jansa subsequently became an advisor on bee-keeping at the Viennese Habsburg court. It was Jansa who came up with the design of the beehive in which several separate units are stacked one on top of the other, still a common sight around Slovenia. These hives are called ‘kranjiči’ and the oldest are decorated with folk paintings, this being recognised as a special area of Slovenian art.

Now Slovenian bee-keepers have been invited to assist budding bee-keepers in Bangladesh, where it is hoped that their skills and knowledge can help pave the way for successful honey cultivation which will help boost employment in poor rural areas, especially among women. During a recent visit to Bangladesh – the first of any senior Slovenian politician since Slovenia became independent in 1191 – state secretary of the Slovenian Ministry for Agriculture Forestry and Food Tanja Strniša outlined how Slovenian bee-keepers could help with the project, and also spoke of the Slovenian government’s hope that bilateral trade between the two countries could be increased. She stressed however that the very different climates of Bangladesh and Slovenia would lead to new research in bee-keeping because the monsoons of Bangladesh could pose a significant challenge to apiculturists.