Malaysia possesses abundant natural resources that can sustain beekeeping activity producing bee products and by products that can be converted into high value added health food, rich in both enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants. Beekeeping plays a major role in socio-economic development and environmental conservation in Malaysia. It is a source of food (e.g. honey, pollen and brood), raw materials for various industries (e.g. beeswax candles and lubricants), medicine (honey, propolis, beeswax and bee venom) and as additional sources of income. It is estimated that the beekeeping industry is capable of generating millions of revenues each year from sales of bee products and by-products. It is an important income generating activity with high potential for improving incomes, especially for communities leaving close to the forests and woodlands. At present, the production of local honey is expected to be lower than in the 1980’s because the number of beekeepers has declined over the years and, that is why, the high demand for natural honey in the country was met by increased imports. Since the local production cannot cope with the domestic demand for natural honey, this paper then, investigates the sustainability issues of increasing production in Malaysian beekeeping projects. One of the main issues of sustainability in beekeeping is the availability of local bees. The attempt to increase the yield per colony and the colonies of local bees is threatened by the uncontrolled importation of foreign bees that could bring along harmful diseases that are capable of destroying the whole beekeeping industry in Malaysia. But Malaysia only produces about 4% of its local honey requirements; the remainder is imported from Australia, China and the US. The declining exports and the increasing imports reflect increased domestic consumption of natural honey and possibly for re-export. Government intervention is expected to increase production by 2010, to increase substitute for imported honey and possibly to increase exports and re-exports
Mohd Mansor Ismail (UPM)-2009.