All Abuzz- 9TH Caribbean Beekeeping Congress opens

  • presents knowledge-sharing opportunity for local beekeepers

DPI, Guyana, Monday, November 19, 2018

The pivotal role of apiculture in the economy was underscored by Minister of Agriculture Noel Holder at the opening of the first session of the Ninth Beekeeping Congress which is being facilitated by the Guyana Apiculture Society (GAS).

“Our beekeepers play a pivotal role in the sector and the work of this organisation (GAS) is an important element in reshaping and repositioning of the Caribbean honey industry by exposing new persons to beekeeping, introducing international best practices to existing beekeepers, developing export potential in the apiculture trade in the Caribbean and boosting local beekeeping businesses via the promotion of local apiculture products to Caribbean visitors,” the Agri Minister stated.

Minister Noel further added, “apiculture’s role in diversified production is significant…it is also a means to address food insecurity and youth unemployment, as well as increased incomes and economic growth.”

The bi-annual meeting is being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Association of Caribbean Beekeepers’ Organisations (ACBO) and aims to provide a forum for the regional beekeeping community to address the challenges and opportunities facing the sub-sector of apiculture.

Minister Holder noted that “this congress offers a unique opportunity for knowledge sharing, insights into introductory programmes for new beekeepers, sessions on honey standards, trade and honey risks for professional beekeepers and using social media as a marketing tool to build new brands and communicate with customers.”

He said it is the role of the government to provide an enabling and supportive environment for the success of the industry hence future collaborations, coordination and regional integration are required.

“The Ministry of Agriculture through the GLDA [Guyana Livestock Development Authority] and IICA [Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture] have been working assiduously to support the industry and will continue to be focused on helping beekeepers improve supply and yields while maintaining the quality of honey,” the minister added. This includes GLDA assisting in providing necessary inputs in the production via the establishment of a facility at its headquarters at Mon Repos,

This facility will assist in the production and processing of wax for box foundation mould and honey extraction rooms for beekeepers. So GLDA has trained 200 persons, this year. He also revealed that the apiculture unit at the GLDA has been training potential beekeepers, promoting beekeeping in schools with a focus on the hinterland regions and providing technical support through improved extension service to beekeepers.

Statistics shown by FAO trade statistics, the global honey import value for 2016 was over $415Million ($2Million), whilst the global honey exports value was above $394Million (US $1.9 Million) which stands at 605,049 tonnes and 633,854 tonnes respectively. Within the Caribbean, Cuba and the Dominican Republic are major honey producers. In 2017, Guyana imported approximately 28,000kg valued at over $14.9Million (US $71,877) in honey.

Also delivering remarks at the opening session was IICA’s country Representative, Wilmot Garnet and Chairman of the Guyana Apiculture Society, Neil Grant who noted that there is much the participants will benefit from over the course of the congress.

Neola Damon

Images: Karime Peters

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