Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Fisheries, Dr. Reginald Thomas has said there are several areas of concern in the honey bee industry that focus should be placed on.
Dr. Thomas who was also representing Minister of Agriculture, Food & Fisheries Dr. Reginald Austrie was speaking at the Beekeepers Cooperative stakeholders’ conference held at the Prevost Cinemall on Tuesday.
“There are several areas of concern in the industry that we have to focus on,” he said. “Processing is one, do we do individual processing or do we look at central processing, the marketing of the honey and the honey product?”
He pointed out there are other honey-related products that can be exported.
“So exporting honey is all well and good but there are several other products that can be derived,” Dr. Thomas explained. “There is much more value addition that can be done to that product and I think that is where the money lies.”
He went on to say that, “there has been a concern where we sell ourselves short” by selling primary products without having the proper systems in place for marketing.
“So we have gotten into the practice of selling honey to our French neighbors…we get the peanuts out of it, the peanuts seem very good to us but we get the peanuts of it,” Dr. Thomas remarked. “I have been to the French islands and I have seen their set up and our honey is world-class honey and they know that…”
Dr. Thomas said further, “As we look forward we want to look at how as a country we derive all the benefits that can be derived from the honey production.”
He said the area of disease surveillance should also be considered.
“Being able to ensure that this country remains free from some of the dangerous diseases that exist,” he noted., “As a ministry, we have taken the policy not to import bees…that is a decision we took and we will continue to keep to that policy.”