“The importance of apiculture in the economy should be appreciated, as bees are one of the main sources of pollination,” was one of the sentiments shared by Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder at Monday’s opening ceremony of the 9th Beekeepers’ Congress, held at the Guyana School of Agriculture (GSA).
Minister Holder in his feature address at the bi-annual congress, which is being held under the theme ‘Beekeeping for a Green Caribbean,’ did not stop at highlighting the importance of bees to our economy, but continued by saying that “our beekeepers play a pivotal role in the sector.”
He further acknowledged that the work of the Guyana Apiculture Society (GAS) “is an important element in reshaping and repositioning 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.”
Also speaking at the opening was Chairman of the Guyana Apiculture Society Neil Grant, who posited that participants can expect to benefit from a lot over the course of the congress.
“GAS fashioned this year’s congress to expose a number of new persons to beekeeping, familiarize local beekeepers with international best practices, discuss regional challenges to Api trade in the Caribbean, to develop export potential and promote local Api products to Caribbean visitors to boost local beekeeping businesses,” Grant said.
Also delivering remarks was Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA)’s Country Representative, Wilmot Garnett. Garnett stated that climate change negatively affects beekeeping, but added that IICA remains committed to supporting the Guyana Apiculture Society, as the sector continues to demonstrate its resilience.
Minister Holder also agreed that support within this sector is crucial for it to become competitive against foreign imports and the promotion of exports.
“The GLDA and IICA have been working assiduously to support the industry. Support has and will continue to be focused on helping beekeepers improve supply and yields while maintaining the quality of honey. The quality of our honey is an important factor in maintaining a comparative advantage over foreign honey imports, while at the same time sustaining our competitiveness,” Holder said.
This year’s programme will also include participants discussing research papers from Caribbean islands and countries, introductory programmes for new beekeepers, advanced sessions on honey standards, trade and fake honey risks for professional beekeepers and the use of social media marketing to build new brands and communication with customers.
The Agriculture Ministry, through the apiculture unit of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), has been focused on training of potential beekeepers, promoting beekeeping in schools, with focus on the hinterland regions and providing technical support through improved extension services to beekeepers.
Additionally, GLDA assists with providing necessary inputs in the production process, which will soon be amplified through the establishment of a facility at the authority’s main office at Mon Repos. Once operational, this facility will assist in the production and processing of wax for box foundation moulds and a honey extraction room for beekeepers.
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