…honey demands greater than productionThe Guyana School of Agriculture on Monday facilitated the ninth biennial Caribbean Bee-keepers Congress, which placed emphasis on the difficulties facing the sector, and ways to improve production.Agriculture Minister Noel Holder, in his presentation, made amidst delegates from Dominica, Jamaica, St Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Bahamas and Nigeria, asserted that a bee legislation would enable Guyana to expand its production rate; and moreover, the industry.He pointed out that while there is a desire to export honey to First World countries, the setbacks are monumental.“Bee legislation and honey regulations are basic necessities for this industry to be expanded. This is especially important as we aspire to export to high-value markets such as the European Union. However, these remain out of reach due toMembers of the ninth congress at the GSAthe complex import regulation and procedure standards of natural produce,” Holder said.As international markets remain out of reach, Holder is under the impression that Guyana’s small scale production can be developed with the right tools. These consist of partnerships and synchronization of involved countries.“Collaborative actions, greater coordination, and regional integration are required to concrete outputs in the short and medium terms. Our locale in the industry is considered to be a small-scale developing industry,” he explained.Meanwhile, a representative from the Business Ministry, Safrana Cameron, focused on the difficulties in the bee-keeping industry, as she explained that honey demand is greater than production, causing prices to skyrocket.“The amount of honey that we produce in Guyana is not enough to match our demand, and when you put market forces together, as demand rises and you are not able to supply that demand, prices for that commodity go up,” said Cameron.She said key indications for business opportunities in the honey industry lie in a simple analysis of the demands for the product.“We have the fauna, the water resources and acres of land. We have one of the best honeybees, and not forgetting the existent knowledge and experience in beekeeping,” she detailed.Constraints leading to low honey production include meeting standards, marketing, trading barriers, and high energy costs.For 2018, the Guyana Livestock Development Authority (GLDA) has trained 200 individuals in beekeeping and other skills-related areas.The congress is open from November 19 to 23 under the theme: “Natural Bee-keeping for a green economy”. Topics to be discussed include pest control, breeding, hive and apiaries, and production costs.In September, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Rowley, announced that his country is looking into the 80-year-old law which restricts Guyana from trans-shipping honey exports through the twin-island republic.The 1935 T&T law prohibits the transportation of honey within one mile of the country; and back in 2015, Laparkan was fined US$3000 by the island’s customs for facilitating the shipment of honey.While they have been strictly defensive of beekeeping and Bee Products Act and regulations, given its vibrant honey sector, they are mandated to deal with its Caribbean Community (Caricom) trading partners fairly. As a result, necessary actions must be implemented to ensure that its laws are in compliance with regional and international obligations.