National Beekeepers Cooperative kicks off year-long mentorship program


Top: National Beekepers Cooperative board members, Bottom left: beekeeping mentors and mentees
Top: National Beekeepers Cooperative board members, Bottom left: beekeeping mentors and mentees

The National Beekeepers Cooperative Society (NBCS) held a ceremony on Saturday 24th February to mark the official start of the beekeeping mentorship program with signing of contracts between the mentors and mentees of the new program.

Three mentors with experience in beekeeping will mentor five upcoming beekeepers for one year and share knowledge on bee biology, hive management, best practices, expanding their beekeeping operation, and operating a beekeeping business. The mentors are Nathaniel Lovell of Bee Api, Kevin James of Blanca Farms and Shem Jacob of Buds Backyard Honey who between them manage over 180 hives.

The total cost of the year-long program was estimated at $100,000 but, despite a lack of funding, the NCBS board decided to go ahead with the initiative based on the voluntary contribution of the three mentors, discounted supplies purchased from Bee Api and a resolve to share equipment and other supplies along the journey.

It was noted at the signing ceremony, that the Dominica apiculture industry has a great opportunity to be further developed and be an integral part of the agriculture sector and national development. At the recent OECS Honey Show held in St Lucia, Dominica won two out of the three prizes available for honey and also captured a number of other awards for Beeswax and value-added products. These awards highlight the quality of the Dominican product and the potential for us to be a regional leader in the sector.

The National Beekeepers Cooperative mentorship program is a timely intervention to expand the number of professional beekeepers and hives on island. The NBCS [has] a goal for members to produce enough honey to satisfy local demand year-round so that imports of foreign and inferior honey become unnecessary.

Representative from the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr Natalia Lugay, stressed the importance of bees for food security and expressed a desire for the ministry to provide more collaborative support for the beekeepers in the future.

The NBCS wishes to express gratitude to the Cooperative Division for ongoing support towards the board and the entire cooperative as they move forward with restructuring and expanding the beekeeping sector.

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1 Comment

  1. February 29, 2024

    The greatest Beekeeper known in Dominica was a gentleman named King who resided in Portsmouth. I do not believe that he was schooled to become a beekeeper neither did he school any of his helpers. Pure honey and honey wax were delivered daily. He owned and managed a band (pure honey) whose members played the sweetest of music. There was no money involved to secure the bees and King only attended the P/mth Govt. school. He was no biologist. Now we hear of $100 000.00, & increased funding etc. Just another route to pinch from some of the $4.6 millions that is growing in the tunnels of VieilleCase & Mt.Daniel.

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