The Ministry of Agriculture has extended its support to the beekeeper’s industry in Dominica as a viable option in the agriculture industry.
Twenty-five hives were set up in a secure area at the Central Livestock Farm located in Londonderry.
In a discussion at GIS on Wednesday August 11th, Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Reginald Thomas revealed that the Ministry of Agriculture aims to protect the beekeeping industry.
“The Ministry of Agriculture recognized that we needed a national breeding area for new entrants to the industry and restockers,” he began. “If a disaster was to hit our industry in the most populated areas, we wanted an area where we could set up a secure facility to restock the island without trying to import bees.”
Dr. Thomas added, “We got onboard with the Bee Cooperative Project. Our contribution was to be there and provide the land which we have done at the Central Livestock Farm.”
According to him, security protocols have been set up to monitor and regulate entry into that area.
Dr. Thomas says there is a local demand for honey and other bee products. He is hoping that attention to the industry will heighten the interest of nationals in beekeeping and encourage beekeepers to produce more than enough for local consumption.
“There is no reason why we should be importing any honey,” he said, “We have a perfect honey for rearing bees. Our flora and fauna is almost organic.”
He added that the Ministry of Agriculture is interested in collaboration and not becoming the major player.
“We are trying to create the enabling environment so that industry can flourish.”
There is also an external market, he says. The Ministry of Agriculture is also looking to expand the reach of producers to take advantage of those markets.
“We have identified that Dominica’s honey, because of our flora and fauna, can enter most of the markets and we are very interested in looking particularly at the European market via Martinique and Guadeloupe.
We have [therefore] facilitated interactions with the beekeepers. We had a visit… from a group from Martinique we helped us strategize a way forward,” he shared.
The GEF Small Grants Programme has funded a beekeepers project on the island which includes training, increase in production and unification of the all beekeeping societies on island.