Dalton Laing, Gleaner Writer
GRANDGE HILL, Westmoreland:
Member of parliament (MP) for Western Westmoreland, Dr Wykeham McNeill, has urged bee-farmers in the parish to make their business profitable in a bid to attract more persons to the trade.
"There is an emphasis on you to do well, so that at the end of the day your success is the best way to encourage and attract young people to get in the business," McNeill said.
He was speaking to 10 bee-farmers at the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) offices in Westmoreland during a brief ceremony where colonies of bees and bee-rearing apparatus were handed over to the farmers.
"The need now is to get the production of honey organised in a way where farmers can pool together and market the honey on a large scale instead of individuals selling one bottle at just the local level," the MP stressed.
Also attending the handover were Wenworth Mitchell, parish manager for RADA Westmoreland; Harold Allen, deputy parish manager; Mark Jones, RADA parish board chairman and Mayor Bertel Moore.
Mayor Moore encouraged the farmers to approach the apiculture business with a view of expansion, as his father started out with one colony of bees and before long had over 20.
Bee-keeping provides not only a consistent supply of honey and wax, but the insects to help pollinate crops.
The need to support the bee-farmers was triggered by the destruction of their swarms during the passing of Tropical Storm Nicole last September.
As such, Jones advised the farmers to protect their bees whenever there is threat of a natural disaster.
"Take them to somewhere which is safe for them, even if it is in your house, as long as they are free from the winds that the storm brings."