Apiculture industry gets $35 million support from Agriculture Ministry
Over $30 million was provided by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries through training and capacity building to 23 beekeeping projects islandwide in 2020.
Additionally, in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the industry, the Ministry provided a $5-million grant towards farm feeding support in an effort to preserve the life of approximately 12% of the beekeeping stock across Jamaica.
To date, some 112 beekeepers have benefitted from this grant.
This disclosure was made by Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, Floyd Green, while speaking at a virtual meeting of the St James Bee Farmers Association on May 2.
Green stated that the apiculture sector has continued to grow in 2020 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.
He noted, however, that while growth was significant, Jamaica still has a lot of ground to cover in satisfying its local and international demand.
“We have identified the beekeeping industry as one of the areas in which we could develop a competitive advantage as there is a significant demand for honey and other by-products,” said Green.
He also noted that the Government, through the Agriculture Ministry, is ramping up its research and development efforts to satisfy these demands.
The agriculture minister said that the apiculture unit has carried out two levels of hygienic testing on 30 colonies of bees from which five queens (colonies) were selected.
Production of daughter cells is now in progress with the intent to supply the market with quality breeding material.
The Ministry has also been strengthening its infrastructure at Bodles Research Station and has refurbished the apiculture unit with the construction of two laboratories, four offices, a storage area, and a staff common room as part of the Bodles Redevelopment Project.
Follow The Gleaner on Twitter and Instagram @JamaicaGleaner and on Facebook @GleanerJamaica. Send us a message on WhatsApp at 1-876-499-0169 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.