The Ministry of Agriculture is working ‘assiduously’ to enforce guidelines and standards for beekeepers, Chief Veterinary Officer Dr. Sharmaine Melville-Edwin has announced.
Last month, a swarm of bees attacked a 55-year-old Grace, Vieux Fort woman who died the following day.
The incident in the community where a honey producer operates is under investigation.
In an interview with the Communications Unit of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Melville-Edwin emphasised the importance of mitigating measures when inter-phasing with bees.
“This is one of the reasons why we want to move forward with this strong public awareness so people can know how to interact and to dispel any fear that people may have as it pertains to the sector – as it pertains to bees because we are seeking to grow and flourish the sector,” the Chief Veterinary Officer explained.
“So there are mitigating measures that will be put in place to ensure that such incidents do not occur. So the Ministry is working assiduously to enforce our guidelines, to enforce standards, to ensure that our beekeepers are in compliance with standards and procedures and put in further measures to prevent such an occurrence in the future,” she stated.
Melville-Edwin disclosed that there has been a lot of interest in beekeeping with a lot of financial injection into apiculture.
As a result, she expected that the sector would contribute even more to agriculture and GDP.
“Apiculture has a lot to offer and the government and Ministry – by extension the government, has invested in apiculture and we hope to expand, increase honey production because there’s a great demand for honey in Saint Lucia as people see the health benefits of it,” the Chief Veterinary Officer told the Agriculture Ministry’s Communications Unit.
“We need to increase supply to meet that demand,” she stated.
Melville-Edwin spoke as the Ministry of Agriculture convened an apiculture stakeholder meeting.
The purpose of the meeting was to develop a strategy to further enhance the sector and raise awareness through a public communication initiative.