ST. GEORGE’S, GRENADA, JANUARY 4th, 2013 – Prime Minister, Hon. Tillman Thomas, has identified apiculture as a viable agri-business sector for enhancing rural communities and improving Grenada’s export potential.
Speaking at the launch of the Caribbean Bee College at the St. George’s University on Thursday, the Prime Minister said the College provides a basis for Grenada to become “a serious player in the global honey market”.
“The strengths of the honey-bee industry also hold benefits for our farmers and our agricultural production. It is therefore incumbent on us to maintain an environment that sustains our bee populations as part of our economic objectives,” the Prime Minister said.
According to the Prime Minister, the presence of the Research Center in Grenada is consistent with his Administration’s identification of Agribusiness, including traditional Agriculture, as one of five pillars to transform the island’s economy.
“It is therefore crucial that we invest in the relevant research, education and extension services to support this process. Issues related to livestock sustainability, husbandry, ecology, behavior and conservation must therefore be at the centre of any programme designed to facilitate growth in that sector,” the Prime Minister said, whilst praising the “partnership” between the Government and the SGU.
He said the College is timely, occurring at a time when the international community, including the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), World Bank and G8 Group of countries, is calling for “urgent and deliberate re-investment in agriculture” to improve global food security in light of the recent financial and economic crisis and the ongoing food crisis.
The Prime Minister told the meeting that key components of the strategy, as identified by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Beekeeping Association of Grenada, must include educational programmes on bees and their production systems, pest management, and organized marketing and promotion with intra and extra regional distribution arrangements.
“These agri-business opportunities for income generation can be realized in servicing the local market, as well as regional and international markets,” the Prime Minister said.