The Agriculture Ministry, in collaboration with the Association of Caribbean Beekeepers’ Organisation (ACBO) and Guyana Apicultural Society (GAS) on Monday officially launched the Ninth Caribbean Beekeeping Congress under the theme, “Natural Beekeeping for a Green Caribbean”.
The conference will cater to over 200 participants from November 19 to 23. This biannual forum, which is geared to address the challenges and opportunities within the subsector, is the second congress convened in Guyana. It will also assist in boosting local beekeeping businesses and opportunities to develop export potential through the promotion of local apiculture products to Caribbean visitors.
In brief remarks at the Agriculture Ministry’s boardroom, Chief Executive Officer
(CEO) of the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA), Nigel Cumberbatch, urged that more and better local honey-based products be made available for public consumption. This, he said, will reduce the demand for imported apiary products and make available more opportunities for local beekeepers.
“We have an opportunity; we have a market right here and we must strive to be able to satisfy the market that we have here … we have an industry that has the ability to grow and there are markets that we can attain by growing,” Cumberbatch is quoted by the Department of Public Information (DPI) as saying. He added that there was a need for more commercial beekeeping activities.
According to Cumberbatch, there is a need to push for more honey production since the nation imports between 45 and 50 kilograms of honey annually from Canada, Jamaica and Congo, among other countries, which he hopes can be changed since “we import as much as we produce”.
The GLDA CEO also urged that GAS create a relationship between crop farmers and beekeepers to expand within their respective fields.
GAS Chairman Neil Grant, who is also chairing the Congress, said the organisation hoped to promote beekeeping as a profession to the participants, particularly those living in the hinterland communities.
Grant added that the organisation was also encouraging the involvement of 1000 beekeepers with 100 hives each, as a way to expand on the production within the sector. He urged more sponsors to join the effort and support the initiative as it will play a role in the growth of the industry.
Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) Country Representative Wilmot Garnett said the apiculture sector was one in Guyana that needed marketing in the Caribbean and called for updates and regulations made across the Region to be highlighted to beekeepers.
The first congress of beekeepers was held in Tobago in November 1998. Successive congresses were held in Nevis in 2000, Jamaica in 2002, Trinidad in 2005, Guyana in 2008, Grenada in 2011, and St Croix in 2014.