The conference which was officially launched in Georgetown yesterday under the theme, “Natural Beekeeping for a Green Caribbean” is geared to address the challenges and opportunities within the subsector, and is the second congress to be convened in Guyana.
The conference which is a biannual forum, will 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 Ministry of Agriculture’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,” GLDA CEO Cumberbatch said, adding that there is 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 45-50kg 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.
Chairman of Guyana Apricultural Society (GAS), Neil Grant, who is also chairing the Congress, said the organisation hopes to promote beekeeping as a profession to the participants, particularly those living in the hinterland communities.
Grant added that the organisation is also encouraging the involvement of 1,000 beekeepers with 100 hives each, as a way to expand on the production within the sector. He urged for more sponsors to join the effort and support the initiative as it will play a role in the growth of the industry.
Country Representative of Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), Wilmot Garnett said the apiculture sector is one in Guyana that needs 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.
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