(GIS) — Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, Hon. Allen Chastanet, is encouraging more Saint Lucians to look to agriculture as a form of employment, especially that of apiculture/beekeeping.
The prime minister said honey production is a sustainable investment.
“It is estimated that there are approximately 3,000 beehives in Saint Lucia with the highest concentration of beekeepers in the Mabouya Valley,” he said. “Under the Banana Accompanying Measures (BAM) Project, Mille Fleurs, the umbrella body for beekeepers on the island, has been allocated space at the La Caye Inland Reception and Distribution Center (IRDC). The BAM Project has also retrofitted the building to house Mille Fleurs bottling operations and office space, and will procure equipment for Mille Fleurs’ bottling operations.”
BAM Magazine states that, “Mille Fleurs, the recipient of a $50,000 grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), used it to train and introduce 20 new persons on the island to beekeeping. The response was so overwhelming that 60 persons enrolled and were trained. At the end of the training, 23 new honey producers were selected. They were each given five hives.
“The expectation is that each new beekeeper will return the five hives after they have multiplied their hives to 10 or more. These hives will then be passed on to another 20 who were not selected initially. This is a critical component of Mille Fleurs’ growth strategy. Mille Fleurs also wants to explore the rearing of Queen Bees to supply beekeepers and sustain the growth of the industry.”
Past President of Mille Fleurs, Mr. William Antoine, stated that beekeeping can lower unemployment rates, especially in the rural communities.
Prime Minister Chastanet said the advantages of honey production include long-term sustainability, steady market prices and the non-perishable nature of the product.