“Our beekeepers play a pivotal role in the sector, and the work of this organisation [Guyana Apiculture Society] is an important element in reshaping and repositioning the Caribbean honey industry,” said Minister of Agriculture, Noel Holder.
Holder was at the time addressing the opening of the Ninth Beekeeping Congress of the Guyana Apiculture Society (GAS) which is being held at the Guyana School of Agriculture, Mon Repos, East Coast Demerara.
Minister Holder is convinced that the honey industry is poised for a much-needed revamp which could be realised “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 ongoing congress, which is being held in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and the Association of Caribbean Beekeepers’ Organizations (ACBO), intends to provide a forum for the regional beekeeping community to address the challenges and opportunities facing the sub-sector of apiculture.
While delivering brief opening remarks, Chairman of the Guyana Apiculture Society, Mr. Neil Grant, said that participants can expect to benefit from a lot over the course of the congress.
According to Grant, this year’s congress was fashioned by GAS to tackle a number of identified objectives, including discussing challenges to api-trade in the Caribbean and promote local api-products to Caribbean visitors to boost local beekeeping businesses.
This year’s programme will also include participants discussing research papers from Caribbean islands and countries, introductory programmes for new beekeepers, advance 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.
Also delivering remarks was country Representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Mr. Wilmot Garnett. He revealed that climate change has been known to negatively affect beekeeping but added that IICA remains committed to supporting GAS as the industry continues to demonstrate its resilience.
Meanwhile, it was pointed out by Minister Holder that support to this industry is crucial for it to become competitive against foreign imports and the promotion of exports.
Moreover, the Ministry through the apiculture unit of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) has been focused on the 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 also 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 mold and a honey extraction room for beekeepers.
“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,” Minister Holder said.
The bi-annual congress, which is being held under the theme ‘Beekeeping for a Green Caribbean’ will, over the next few days, see beekeepers from across the Region discussing developmental issues and other pressing matters about the sector.