SERDANG: Malaysia has taken the initiative to develop kelulut honey as a superfood, said Mardi director-general Datuk Dr Sharif Haron.
He said the honey which comes from stingless bees, or meliponines, contains up to 10 times more antioxidants than regular honey.
“That makes it a superfood,” he said, adding that the high amounts of nutrients and antioxidants in such products were claimed to be beneficial for health.
The Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute’s initiative included developing Malaysia’s own benchmark for kelulut honey by June next year.
According to him, there was a huge export market for the honey as a superfood.
Commercial harvesting of the honey was first introduced here in 2012 and the industry was already a RM200mil a year business, he said.
He said there were between 750 and 1,000 bee farmers nationwide, tending some 50,000 to 60,000 commercial beehives.
“Each hive can produce about 1.5kg to 2kg of honey a month, which is sold for between RM150 and RM200 per kilo,” he said.
The beehives are also a source of propolis and bee bread, which have uses in the health and cosmetics industries.
Malaysia is home to 33 species of stingless bee, of which only two – the thoracica and itama – are suitable for commercial honey production. – The Star, 3 September 2016