The Barbados Apiculture Association (BAA) is working with the Technical Educational and Vocational Training (TVET) Council to develop a set of standards for beekeeping.
BAA President, Damian Hinds, made the announcement in light of plans by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security to transform beekeeping into a lucrative and sustainable component of the agricultural sector. He was speaking at the Association’s Beekeeping Forum held on Wednesday.
Mr. Hinds noted that the establishment of criteria and guidelines were necessary if the island is to capitalize on this new industry.
Stating that “healthy bees are wealthy bees,” he disclosed that the BAA was seeking to set up training and observation centres so individuals interested in apiculture could gain knowledge in proper bee rearing.
“We intend to leverage our status as a farming organization to source funding for conducting industry and value chain mapping assessments to do research into the testing of honey [both local and imported],” Mr. Hinds said, adding that the Association was involved in plans to establish honey extraction and bottling facilities.
As it relates to environmental concerns, such as the impact of the use of various pesticides on honey bees, the BAA President said it was their intention to meet with the relevant parties to discuss and find solutions to this and other challenges.
The need for an environment favourable for bee rearing was also highlighted by Chief Agricultural Officer, Lennox Chandler, who explained that a component of the upcoming national beekeeping programme would focus on the growing of certain types of plants, not only on farms, but also within communities.
“It is my understanding that bees prefer certain hosts or that beekeepers prefer bees to forage and feed on certain hosts, so what we’re going to be doing in this programme is encouraging the planting of certain plants around the island,” he told participants at the forum.
He added that the Ministry was looking for ways to supply some of the preferred plants to the public either free of cost or at reduced rates.