The Bee Health 2020 project team that attended the VIII Veterinary Science Congress in Cuba.

One of the bases of the project Bee Health 2020 LatAm is the experience of Cuban beekeeping, the most extensive agricultural activity in that country, with most of its beekeepers considered professionals and an integrated management that is reflected in average production of 45 kilos per hive.

One of the bases of the project Bee Health 2020 LatAm is the experience of Cuban beekeeping, the most extensive agricultural activity in that country, with most of its beekeepers considered professionals [1] and an integrated management that is reflected in average production of 45 kilos per hive.

Therefore, attending as a team the VIII Veterinary Science Congress organized by our partner, the Association of Veterinary Doctors of Cuba (AMVC), from November 4th to 7th in Havana, was a great opportunity to share our experience and learn about good practices.

Many of the problems that we find in Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Costa Rica can be solved with a good sanitary management, such as what is practiced in Cuba, whose sanitary level allows it to have productions of complete regions of the country certified as organic and to export honey with this same certification.

During the congress we had the opportunity to discuss the challenges of beekeeping, health management and how to add value to bee products. We also knew how BioCubaFarma —business organization that gathers biotechnological and pharmaceutical industries of the island— has managed to transform research into new pharmaceutical products that are being commercialized in different parts of the world. All this is proof that from good quality science, small countries can create high value.

During the congress, four members of the Bee Health 2020 LatAm team who attended the event (Marnix Doorn, Mayda Verde, Leslie Vallejos and María Andrea Sánchez) discussed in a round table the results obtained so far by the project, and shared experiences about the joint work done with beekeepers from Chile, Colombia and Argentina.

After this event, Leslie Vallejos and María Andrea Sánchez, extensionists of the Bee Health 2020 project and researchers from Fraunhofer Chile and Unicomfacauca, participated in an intensive three-week training organized by the Cuban Beekeeping Company (APICUBA).

In this program they addressed key aspects of beekeeping, such as the management of a queen’s hatchery, the handling and selection of wax, the production of beekeeping materials and the production process, among others.

We thank AMVC and APICUBA for their collaboration and hope that the training of our team will contribute to the Latin American beekeeping sector in the coming years.

[1] Beekeeping in Cuba and its current situation, Agroecology 12 (1) : 67-73, 2017