Barbados is rolling out a plan to build a successful honey industry which would allow local beekeepers to get their products on supermarket shelves.
President of the Barbados Apiculture Association Damien Hinds told Barbados TODAY that while there was currently limited, if any, locally produced honey being sold at supermarkets, the association was being supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and key technical agencies to change this reality.
“Over 90 per cent of the honey that Barbadians consume is being imported and when you listen to reports, it does leave us quite vulnerable to perhaps consuming products that may be a bit deceptive.
“And what we are hoping to do, therefore, is to remove the threat because more and more people are coming to us and requesting honey from sources that they can trust. So we have started doing some work and putting things in place to get to that point,” Hinds said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a workshop for beekeepers titled Building a Competitive and Resilient Honey Industry in Barbados, at the United Nations House, Hastings, Christ Church, today, Hinds suggested that beekeepers were also exploring the possibility of utilizing honey and other bee products for medicinal and a range of purposes, including pollen for protein and vitamin and the wax for skincare.
“We estimate there are around 600 hives on the island. Most of the aperies are very small and would not necessarily be classified as commercial production as yet. And that is why a lot of the thrust is on trying to improve the productivity and capacity of these small aperies so that they can help with the substitution,” he said.
Hinds said he was also pleased to report that over the past year, several females have joined the association, showing that more women are interested in beekeeping, which was formerly a predominantly male-dominated field.
“We have had close to 20 women join, and the association is around the region of 50 persons. So, almost half of our profile is now female, and this is one of the things that we are particularly pleased about,” Hinds said. (PR)