Video: Challenges facing the beekeeping sector

by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada

  • More emphasis should be placed on nutritional therapeutic and medicinal components of honey and its by-products
  • Beekeepers barred from exporting honey to Trinidad and Tobago despite obligations under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas

The honeybee industry in Grenada, although still in its infancy, has great potential to help stimulate the rural economy. Moses Marrast is of that view, but at the same time, he believes more can be done to capitalise on the benefits that can be derived from beekeeping.

Marrast says more emphasis should be placed on exploring the nutritional therapeutic and medicinal components of honey and its by-products. “We need to inform our people on the medicinal benefits of honey because honey is not just a sweetener, but it can be used for a variety of medicinal purpose including as an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory agent. Honey has also been proven to have cancer-fighting properties and is something that Grenadians on a whole should be using on a daily basis.”

Research has shown that the pollen propolis, a gum collected by the bees from plants and trees can be used to help in weight loss enhance the immune system; relieve allergy and asthma symptoms and slow the ageing process. Also, bee stings are used in alternative treatment for arthritis.

Another by-product from honey production is the wax which can be utilised in products such as furniture polish, candles, foundation sheets for frames, and cosmetics among others.

Despite the potential of Grenada’s honey which has received international recognition, there are many challenges confronting the industry.  At present local beekeepers are barred from exporting honey to neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago despite obligations under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas.

This trade barrier continues to be a major talking point at the level of Caricom with the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Investment, and Communications of Trinidad and Tobago recognising that this long-standing issue must be addressed urgently.

The Trinidad & Tobago Manufacturers’ Association (TTMA) Caricom updates notes “Market Access for Honey into Trinidad and Tobago – The Minister of Trade and Industry of Trinidad and Tobago reiterated the country’s position that it would liberalise the trade of honey, but that her administration is new. Grenada indicated that it understands that the administration is new, and that it would be willing to dialogue with the new Minister. NB Grenada is the 2015 recipient of the Medal of Ukraine, which is awarded to the best honey in the world outside of the British Isles. “

Marrast is calling on the relevant authority in the neighbouring twin republic to fast-track this process as they have indicated that they will be improving their laboratory facilities to test the product entering the country. “Beekeepers have been blocked from exporting honey to Trinidad, and this is an ongoing discussion, and from what I heard they were setting up a facility to test the incoming honey, and if in the event they can establish that, then that will benefit local beekeepers.”

The beekeeper also raised the issue of lack of agricultural inputs for farmers to upgrade their apiaries and lack of agro-processing, especially of honey. “There is a need to establish a shop where farmers can purchase all of their agricultural inputs for beekeeping instead of just having a few individuals making beekeeping equipment. Also, there is a need for beekeepers to diversify their product offering and explore the other by-products of honey instead of solely focusing on sale and export of raw honey.”

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