The Dominica Beekeepers Association has been urged to provide opportunities for the youth and more precisely to get them involved in the Bee Keepers Co-operative, one of the major enterprises on the island.
Hon. Minister for Social Services, Community Development and Gender Affairs, Gloria Shillingford, made this appeal at the opening ceremony of a beekeepers’ workshop, held at the Garraway Hotel on Monday, July 04th, 2011.
The opening ceremony of the beekeepers’ workshop is just one of the many activities that are being held throughout the week, in observance of co-operative week which is being celebrated under the theme “Youth, the Future of Co-operative Enterprises.”
“It is also timely to celebrate co-operative week under the theme, ‘Youth and Entrepreneurship Development’ since many of our youth are graduating from high school and will soon be searching for gainful employment. Indeed, being self-employed as a beekeeper is a lucrative avenue that our youths can explore,” she said.
Commissioner of Co-operatives, Mariet Canoville, also encouraged young people to tap into the beekeeping niche since there are many benefits that can be derived from the industry.
“You wonder why, young people? The practice of beekeeping teaches young people the value of community and teamwork. When learning about the bee, we quickly learn that a seemingly insignificant insect that has no apparent function in our busy schedule is responsible for almost all of the food that we eat and the flowers that we enjoy. Beekeeping teaches children and teens more than just how to be good beekeepers. It teaches all of us that no man is insignificant and that we all need each other,” she said.
President of the Beekeepers Co-operative, Lennox Fagan, relayed similar sentiments as he advised farmers to exploit the full potential of the industry.
He believes that the beekeeping industry can be a very viable enterprise, with each product being a multi-million sub sector, if and when farmers learn to make use of the bees, in order to increase their years.
According to him, based on a recent research, Dominica can accommodate 5000 hives and presently only 600 exist.
“Beekeeping is part of agriculture and does not receive the respect it deserves; not from farmers, beekeepers or from the relevant authorities. This industry is truly under-utilised,” he noted.
Beekeeping consultant, Clive De Bruyn, highlighted the importance of bees and its impact on our daily lives.
“The only thing that people know is bee stings and bees make honey and this is irrelevant. The thing that you must remember when I leave is bees pollinate flowers. That is the most important thing that they do and everything else is irrelevant. People always talk about honey. Honey is a by-product. The very air that we breathe depends on bees. If you do not have bees, pollinating flowers that are on trees, the trees will not propagate. Trees produce oxygen from carbon dioxide that we are producing. So, without vegetation, life is going to end,” he said.