Beekeeping

The ministry works to enforce beekeeping standards

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The Department of Agriculture is working “diligently” to enforce guidelines and standards for beekeepers, chief veterinarian Dr Sharmaine Melville-Edwin said.

Last month, a swarm of bees attacked a 55-year-old woman from Grace, Vieux Fort, who died the following day.

The incident in the community where a honey producer operates is under investigation.

In an interview with the Department of Agriculture’s Communications Unit, Dr. Melville-Edwin highlighted the importance of mitigation measures when inter-phase with bees.

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“That’s one of the reasons why we want to move forward with this strong public outreach so that people know how to interact and allay any fears that people might have regarding the sector – regarding concerns bees because we seek to grow and prosper the sector,” explained the Chief Veterinary Officer.

“There are therefore mitigation measures that will be put in place to ensure that such incidents do not occur. The ministry is therefore working diligently to enforce our guidelines, to enforce the standards, to ensure that our beekeepers follow the standards and procedures, and to put in place additional measures to prevent such an event from happening again at the future,” she said.

Melville-Edwin revealed that there has been a lot of interest in beekeeping with a lot of financial injections into beekeeping.

As a result, she expected the sector to contribute even more to agriculture and GDP.

“Beekeeping has a lot to offer and the government and the ministry – by extension the government, has invested in beekeeping and we hope to develop, increase honey production because there is a high demand for honey in Saint Lucia because people see the health benefits,” said the head of veterinary services at the communication unit of the Ministry of Agriculture.

“We need to increase supply to meet this demand,” she said.

Melville-Edwin spoke as the Department of Agriculture convened a meeting of beekeeping stakeholders.

The objective of the meeting was to develop a strategy to further strengthen the sector and raise public awareness through a public communication initiative.

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