Efforts are under way to develop a local apiculture (beekeeping) industry as part of plans to reposition the agricultural sector to the forefront of social and economic development in Barbados.
Chief Agricultural Officer, Lennox Chandler, made the announcement on Wednesday, as he addressed the Barbados Apiculture Association’s beekeeping forum, on behalf of Minister of Agriculture and Food Security, Indar Weir.
He explained that during a recent meeting with agricultural officials, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley had identified apiculture as an area with great scope, and promised that Government would provide financial assistance to build out the industry.
The Chief Agricultural Officer further disclosed that a nationwide beekeeping programme would be rolled out by the Ministry, in association with the Barbados Apiculture Association.
This initiative seeks to raise awareness about the potential of this new industry through educating the public on the importance of honeybees and the need to ensure that the environment is conducive to their sustainability, as well as the commercial value of honey and wax, among other things.
Mr. Chandler noted that apiculture presented opportunities for people, especially the youth, to create a livelihood. He said their options were not limited to the rearing of bees, as money could be earned through the collection, bottling and selling of honey, or even renting bees to farms to improve the pollination of crops.
President of the Apiculture Association, Damien Hinds, shared a similar view during his address, stating: “We have the manufacturing of [bees wax] candles, cosmetics, hive construction, beauty therapy; all of these are areas of apiculture, and we intend to position our people so that they can take advantage of the benefits.”
The Apiculture Association President also encouraged Barbadians not to fearful of bees, but rather learn their value and explore the opportunities presented through beekeeping.
Expressing excitement at the prospects of this endeavor, Mr. Chandler highlighted the Ministry’s efforts to revive its Bee Unit and establish an apiary, and encouraged Barbadians to embrace the idea.
The beekeeping forum was held at the CARDI Demonstration and Training Centre, located on the Ministry’s Graeme Hall, Christ Church compound.
Attendees were treated to presentations on general information about bees, the commercial value of honey and beeswax, and how they should go about getting involved in beekeeping.