Hon J.C. Hutchinson, Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, speaking with bee farmers at a forum in Montego Bay on April 6.
Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, the Hon J.C. Hutchinson, has reiterated the importance of working together as a group as he addressed bee farmers at a forum held in Montego Bay on April 6.
Noting the growth of the beekeeping industry, which stands at 3,000 beekeepers and 48,000 registered beehives, Minister Hutchinson emphasised the importance of the bee farmers speaking with one voice as they seek to address the challenges that confront the industry such as climate change.
In outlining some of the benefits of working together as a group, Minister Hutchinson said, “You can pool your resources; learn from each other; and have access to more benefits such as the lowering of your input costs through bulk purchases, obtaining funding from international agencies for major infrastructural projects and lobbying Government on behalf of members.”
Minister Hutchinson noted that with the establishment of a national body the bee farmers would be better able to stimulate, promote and protect their interest as well as positively affect policies, programmes and practices in the industry.
In 2016, honey production increased by over 200%, moving from 117,548 gallons in 2005 to approximately 247,000 gallons, while for the 2017 crop the projection is for the production of some 288,000 gallons of honey with farm gate earnings of just under $1.8 billion. An additional $60m is expected to be earned from the 10,024 gallons of honey to be reaped from the 176 new apiaries and 2,506 hives that have been established since the start of April.
The beekeeping industry is in the process of setting up a new national body to replace the All-Island Bee Farmers Association, which has been dormant for the past three to four years.
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