Young people encouraged to become involved in beekeeping industry

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The Gilbert Agricultural and Rural Development (GARD) Centre, the Australian Embassy based in Trinidad and Tobago and the Mill Reef fund have partnered with the Antigua and Barbuda Beekeeping Cooperative to train a number of young people in beekeeping, beeswax soap making and bee box construction.
 Twenty-two of them have been engaged in a 10-week training course, covering topics including how to manage bee hives, collecting swarms, making soaps and creams from beeswax, and business management.
June Jackson, acting executive director for the GARD Centre said that the participants are expected to use their training to become entrepreneurs in the beekeeping industry.
“We want them to become their own entrepreneurs and that is what the trainers have been assisting them with – setting up of their own beekeeping and soap making industry,” she said.
She also said that several trainers were willing to assist the participants, beyond the workshop, to maintain their businesses.
“I already have commitment from a few trainers who said that they will still check up on them to see how they are doing outside of the actual completion of the training,” the acting executive director said.
According to a press release from the GARD centre, the workshop will be a boost to the local beekeeping industry which has suffered challenges recently.
In touching on some of those challenges, Jackson said, “Because of the hurricane that passed recently, some people would have experienced severe damage to their beehives. Also, with the dry weather, a lot of people are cutting down trees, [which are necessary] for the bees to live and to produce honey that these people would want to use and sell.”
She added that the clearing of land has also affected the creation of bee hives.
Beekeeping suits, lumber used to construct bee boxes, trainer fees and other equipment were funded by the Mill Reef Fund and the Australian Embassy.

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