The Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security has received funding for its national apiculture project.
Chief Agricultural Officer, Lennox Chandler, made the disclosure during the third beekeeping forum on Wednesday, at the Queen’s Park Steel Shed, Constitution Road, St. Michael.
Mr. Chandler explained that back in January at a meeting with agricultural officials, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley indicated she would provide financial assistance to the ministry to assist in ‘rolling out’ a national apiculture project, which would resuscitate and ‘build-out’ the bee industry in Barbados.
As part of the ministry’s project programme, officials have been hosting a series of beekeeping forums, in an effort to inform the public about beekeeping. The first was held at the CARDI building at the ministry, Graeme Hall, Christ Church, and the second at Gall Hill, St. John.
The forums seek to raise awareness about different viable potentials within the beekeeping industry, the importance of honeybees and practising sustainable beekeeping habits. In addition to the forums, Mr. Chandler noted that the ministry would also be hosting training workshops, where people will be trained in the husbandry, management and skills involved in keeping bees.
“Bees are important for more than one reason. Bees provide honey as you know, provide wax and propolis and other products as well. Bees are important as pollinators, in that certain plants require bees to move from plant to plant so that they can produce fruit…so bees are very important in the environment and agri-ecology,” the Chief Agriculture Officer stated.
Concluding his remarks, Mr. Chandler urged Barbadians not to abandon agriculture, but to make it the bedrock of the society.
He stressed: “We, in Barbados, have to be able to look after and feed ourselves, and please, if you have any small pieces of land around your house, whatever you have, get out there with some seedlings; plant your own food; look after it yourself; do not spray it too often and eat wholesome nutritious food.”
Presentations were also made by staff of the Graeme Hall Apiary Unit; Entomologist, Ian Gibbs; President of the Barbados Apiculture Association, Damian Hinds; and beekeeper, Julian Mangal. Their presentations focused on areas such as important facts about bees, apiary site selection, local bee friendly flora, commercial value of the hive, and pests that affect bees.