It’s not just about honey. It’s about the many delicious, healthy and healing products that can derive from bee products. Bees, we know are amazing creatures, and under threat across Europe and the United States, mainly due to pesticides. However, climate change is also a factor as well as the loss of the places where bees thrive. We in Jamaica need to become more bee-friendly – and support bee farmers! By the way there are urban beekeepers, too.
Ja REEACH II (or, to give it the long name, Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II) recently highlighted the possibilities. Here is their press release.
More Than Honey: Opportunities Buzzing Within the Apiculture Value Chain
(Portland, Jamaica; April 3, 2018) – The increased popularity and demand for honey and its by-products together with the ever-increasing discoveries of their health and wellness benefits, make now as good a time as any, to explore the industry and the potential investment opportunities within the value chain. This was the sentiment expressed by value chain actors at the Apiculture Value Chain Forum organized by the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) Project in collaboration with Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA) and held at the College of Education, Science and Education (CASE) on March 26, 2018.
The forum themed More Than Honey: Opportunities Buzzing Within the Apiculture Value Chain brought together commercial honey producers from Eastern Jamaica to explore local and international opportunities available in the beekeeping industry. Technical experts from Agro–Investment Corporation, Jamaica Business Development Corporation, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce Agriculture and Fisheries (MICAF) – Apiculture Unit and the Jamaica Bureau of Standards, shared presentations which highlighted best practices in the areas of standards, product development and marketing. Bee farming associations also shared their success stories, which was an important element in shedding light on the many investment opportunities within the apiculture sub-sector.
According to Agro–Investment Corporation Cluster Coordinator, Duvoughn Thomas, the established international demand for honey, presents an economic opportunity for the country to tap into the US$2.2 billion global honey industry. Jamaica has only been able to tap into 0.02 percent of the global market so far.
“We have to stop looking at honey as the only product that we can get from the beehive. The hive is a production station for many different products…they have high market value and are inputs/ingredients in other market products,” said Kwesi Palmer, Apiculture Extension Officer at MICAF in exploring product development with the value chain actors.
The forum was a catalyst for bee entrepreneurs to network and establish linkages while showcasing value-added products such as soaps, ointments, shampoos, hair wax and candles from beeswax, jams and jellies, wines and infused flavoured honey.
The Ja REEACH II project is a four-year initiative funded by the USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA. Through a range of interventions, Ja REEACH II works with government, private sector, civil society and community based organizations to increase awareness and application of practical actions that help Jamaicans to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.