Agriculture minister calls on bee farmers to invest more in the industrySunday, May 09, 2021
ST JAMES, Jamaica – Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Floyd Green, is calling on bee farmers to invest more in building and diversifying the industry.
Green, who was addressing members of the St James bee farming community on May 2, also encouraged them to boost their production of honey, as there is a ready market.
“The growth of the beekeeping subsector is critical, not just for significant demand for honey and other bee by-products but also for the role bees play in the ecosystem and how critical they are to agriculture in general,” the minister said.
Green said the Government is increasing its role “in developing strategies to increase yields, in research and development of cutting-edge technology” to get the local bee farming industry in step with the more advanced apiculture economies worldwide.
“The Government has partnered with the Florida Department of Agriculture and we are looking for their assistance to conduct DNA analysis of our local honey bee stock, and clearly this will allow the Government to compile data on the local stock leading to increased access to market for the sale of high-quality queen bees,” the minister noted.
He said despite the setbacks experienced after the flood rains in 2020, the industry is on the rebound with some 3,000 investors managing just over 3,500 apiaries with approximately 65,000 bee colonies, valued at about $2.6 billion or US$17 million.
The growth, he noted, extends to western parishes, highlighting the $27-million state-of-the-art honey extraction and bottling facility, which was recently established through a partnership between the Hanover Bee Farmers Co-operative and the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF).
Green also cited the youth beekeeping initiative being spearheaded by Member of Parliament for South Trelawny, Marisa Dalrymple-Philibert, in collaboration with the 4-H Clubs in the parish.
He commended the St James Bee Farmers Association for taking steps to register as a charity and invited the association to take advantage of the many options and opportunities to expand bee farming through partnership with the Government.
Meanwhile, Chairman of the St James Bee Farmers Association, Dennis McKay, emphasised the need for greater collaboration between the various players within the bee farming industry as well as investors in allied sectors.
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