– 9th Beekeeping Congress opens at GSA
The Guyana Apiculture Society (GAS) on Monday officially declared open the first session of the 9th Beekeeping Congress in the auditorium of the Guyana School of Agriculture, Mon Repos.
The bi-annual congress, which being held under the theme ‘Beekeeping for a Green Caribbean’ will, over the next few days, see beekeepers from across the Region gathering to discuss developmental issues and other pressing matters about the sector.
While delivering the feature address at the opening ceremony, Agriculture Minister Noel Holder said that importance of apiculture in the economy should be appreciated as bees are one of the main sources of pollination.
“Our bee keepers play a pivotal role in the sector and the work of this organization (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,” Minister Holder said.
The event, 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.
“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,” Mr. Grant said.
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 IICA’s country Representative, Mr. Wilmot Garnet. He said 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 said 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,” Minister Holder said.
The 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 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.