St Lucia launches strategy to expand local honey industry

By LOOP NEWS

A comprehensive strategy aimed at revitalizing the apiary industry has been launched in order to harvest the benefits of the market demand for honey.

With assistance from Compete Caribbean through its Cluster Development project, Export Saint Lucia and the Ministry of Agriculture have initiated a plan to expand the industry.

Member of the Project Development Team, Yvonne Agard, explained why honey was chosen for the cluster development project.

“It is one of those products which is in great demand in the specialty food market. We went about developing the program, meeting all the conditions of the donor agency and it was accepted. Subsequently we had to defend the project in front of an international panel of judges and a couple of weeks later we got the go-ahead.”

A beekeeper with Horizon Brothers Honey Producers, John Charlemagne, is excited about the project, particularly the implementation of standards for honey producers.

“It’s no longer an ‘under the bush’ trade. It calls for proper knowledge and application of apiculture standards, to ensure that we have a product that is a proper representation of Saint Lucia,” he said. “Doing this project in collaboration with various entities like the Saint Lucia Bureau of Standards and Export Saint Lucia, we know that it will bring about success.”

A critical component of the project is the implementation of a solid governance structure for the industry. The Mille Fleurs Honey Producers’ Cooperative Society Ltd has been chosen to undertake this task.

Uraline Alphonse, President of the Mille Fleurs Honey Producer’s Cooperative Society, said: “We’re hoping to see Mille Fleurs as the structure for beekeepers where they could come and get the necessary input and insight on their business. We’re using the cooperative to put everything in place to better facilitate the beekeepers,” she said.

Beekeepers and cooperatives say they are eager to get the ball rolling on the implementation of the Cluster Development Project and look forward to the successes, which will be derived from the project.