Former President of the Beekeepers Cooperatives, Lennox Fagan has said a resilient country must do all in its power to save bees on the island.
He was making a presentation at the Beekeepers Cooperative stakeholders’ conference held at the Prevost Cinemall on Tuesday.
“A resilient country must do all in its power to save the bees,” he said.
Fagan said also that the main objective of the cooperative is to develop the apiculture industry at a sustainable form of livelihood and a strong contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and food security.
He said Hurricane Maria dealt a heavy blow to the industry with about 65% of hives destroyed.
“Currently there are about 250 hives remaining on the island of Dominica,” he stated.
He pointed out that the government of Dominica has pledged to provide the cooperative sector with the assistance of $1-million.
Fagan said the cooperative proposed to set up a honey processing plan to facilitate the packaging and marketing of raw honey from beekeepers.
Meantime, Registrar of Cooperative, Mariet Canoville pointed to the importance of bees to food security.
“Food security is our business and without bees, we have no food,” she stated. “Take this very seriously…”
She urged participants to follow-up on what will come out of the conference.
“In Dominica, we have something good going for us since in many countries have problems with bees, bees are depleting, we too have our own challenges here where we see the depletion of bees,” Canoville stated.
She noted that as the country recovers from Hurricane Maria, “we should take a clean slate and do what is best for our economy.”
“We need to bring our economy back to a vibrant one and this is the first step,” Canoville remarked.
Furthermore she said there is a restructuring in the Ministry of Agriculture and the Cooperative Division is now having a stronger relationship with the Ministry of Agriculture and as a result, she encourages farmers to go out there and do what is best for the increase in the production of honey.
Canoville pointed out that persons need also to look at when and how they use pesticides, “because you don’t want further depletion of bees.”
She called on members of the bee cooperatives to unite to better themselves.
“In bettering ourselves we can better our country, we can’t do it alone, the bees are showing us how we should work and so too we should work to build our country Dominica,” Canoville stated.
The beekeepers’ group started in 1992 as a result of a training conducted.
The group was registered as a cooperative society in 2018 with a membership of fifteen.
As of 2018 the cooperative has a membership of 30 with many more people showing interest.