The passage of the Law of Ukraine “On Apiculture” in 2000 did not introduce any marked improvements in this sector. Even worse, the V. A. Nestervodsky Department of Apiculture at National Agrarian University, the only one of its kind in Ukraine, may be disbanded.
Why? There is no need for these kinds of professionals. While in the 1970s the department’s quota was 50 specialists, then 25, today the figure is approaching zero. Only two masters of sciences graduate every year in Ukraine, and the number of graduates with bachelor degrees has dropped to about ten.
Can one really expect this sector to develop in the absence of skilled specialists? Prof. Viktor Polishchuk, who has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Sciences, says: “Today, specialists should be allowed just to go and seek employment — not like in Soviet times, when everything was pre-planned. They can find a job by themselves and get down to business.”
Considering that honey is an almost universal panacea for all kinds of illnesses, why is there such an attitude to apiculture? In Ukraine, one of the world’s top five producers of honey, we consume a mere 200 grams of it a year.
According to the proceedings of an international workshop held last spring in Kyiv, each oblast requires a minimum of three apiculture graduates. Moreover, the expansion of production facilities and the processing of biologically active products (in addition to honey and wax, there are five more products that are derived from bees) could offer specialists new opportunities for work. A lot of people “in the know” are citing the following glaring example of governmental incompetence in this “sweet business.” Drugstores, now overstocked with expensive imported medicines, have almost no Ukrainian analogues that can be made mostly on the basis of honey, scientists say.
Still, there is no real progress. The university department is coming under increasing fire. “So far our rector is managing to protect the department with his own authority, and we’d like to have at least 25 full-time and as many part-time students,” says Prof. Polishchuk.