The Apiary Program, a joint effort between the Ministry of Grand Bahama, Inter-American Institute for Cooperation of Agriculture (IICA) and the Bahamas Development Bank, received a boost of support on Wednesday, January 15th from the international community. The program which began in in 2017, offered training and ultimately financing to young people, resulting in the establishment of several businesses that produce honey and other bee related products on
Grand Bahama. Tragically, Hurricane Dorian inflicted devastating losses on the young beekeepers, just as they were preparing to expand their operations into the export market. Many beekeepers lost all of their hives, inventory, and equipment, forcing them to restart their businesses entirely.
The details of their plight were heard around the world. When the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and Mann Lake Ltd., a bee supplies distributor in Hackensack, Minnesota caught wind of the apiarists’ losses as a result of Hurricane Dorian, they offered their support to assist the young people with getting back on their feet. Shacara Lightbourne, Acting Country Representative and Technical Specialist for IICA presented a group of apiarists with the generously donated hive supplies. The group included the Grand Bahama Beekeeper’s Co-operative, which was formed by participants of the Apiary Program.
Beekeeping is growing in the Bahamas through the work of a diverse group of stakeholders that includes nonprofit organizations, government departments, and finance agencies such as IICA, the Ministry of Grand Bahama and The Bahamas Development Bank. The public can also support the bees by planting native flowering plants. The multi-million dollar market for honey, pollen, bees wax other bee-related products offers local entrepreneurs an opportunity to get into
business with a nominal investment.