Training for Kalinago beekeepers on value added products from the hive

Terri Henry of Bee Natural demonstrates candle-rolling

As part of a GEF-funded initiative to support Kibe Kuati Inc, with a new beekeeping group in the Kalinago Territory, two local Dominican businesses – Bee Api and Bee Natural were recruited to deliver a workshop on value-added products from the beehive.  The one-day session was delivered on Saturday 13th January at the Morne Rachette community center with Project Manager, Claudius Sanford, and twenty-two participants.

Nathaniel Lovell, owner of Bee Api Honey Company and producer of award-winning La Vie Miel Honey spoke of his experience as a beekeeper and the process of adding value to honey starting from hive management and seasonal observation of local flora. He conducted a taste testing with his seasonal honey – Spring, Summer, and Savonette and the Hot Honey made with the addition of local hot peppers. Participants could taste the differences and appreciate the additional value it offers to the consumer and the quality which made two of these honeys place first in the 2023 OECS Honey Show.

Nathaniel encouraged participants to observe plants that are abundant in the Kalinago Territory, keep diligent records, and manage their hives to create a honey that captures the unique taste of the flora in their bioregion.

He also shared his other value-added product – mead which is a wine made from honey which everyone enjoyed! This delicious new wine will soon be available to local customers.

Terri Henry from Bee Natural went on to outline the uses of honey in cosmetic products and the many other resources of the hive such as Beeswax,  propolis, pollen, Royal jelly, and even bee venom. She showcased the many value-added products that her business creates such as candles, deodorant, lip balms and body butter, beeswax wraps, and propolis tincture. Participants were able to sample the variety of these products and given a hands-on demonstration on how to create a rolled Beeswax candle.

Terri, who was named Dominica Agro-processor of the Year for 2023 and also scooped three awards at the OECS Honey show, gave tips on starting and growing this type of value-added business and encouraged participants to let their imagination explore all the endless possibilities!

The group then went to the beehives at one of Bee Api’s apiaries to learn more practical tips on hive Management that they can incorporate into their operation.

The enthusiastic participants asked a lot of questions throughout the session and gratefully expressed how much they had learned and been inspired by the workshop.

Nathaniel and Terri also serve on the board of the National Beekeepers Cooperative as President and Secretary respectively and were pleased to forge this important alliance between the new beekeepers of the indigenous Kalinago people.


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