Certified Buzz – The “Bee City” Cluster project
Written by Radio Caribbean International on April 28, 2021
In 2019 Export Saint Lucia successfully presented a proposal for funding for a cluster project, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) through Compete Caribbean, towards the development and eventual export of Saint Lucia honey. The “Bee City” Cluster project has various components, including creating a profile for Saint Lucia honey, marketing, and promotion in international markets.
Monday, April 26th 2021, saw the commencement of a week-long Honey Certification Scheme Training Program for beekeepers, extension officers, and other stakeholders. The program will train the beekeepers in the National Standard SLN 99 towards the implementation of the afore-mentioned certification scheme. This training program will ensure that stakeholders in the apiculture sector are fully aware of the requirements needed to produce a sustainable product along the supply chain and export more of the product soon. It is expected that once certified, our honey product will have unopposed entry into all other trading markets to which Saint Lucia has access.
CEO of Export Saint Lucia, Ms. Sunita Daniel, stressed the importance of meeting market demand as the world has become highly health-conscious. She said, “The world has taken a positive turn towards healthy eating. Vegetarianism, veganism, and even religion sometimes dictate what we can and cannot permit into our temples”. Miss Daniel alluded to the turn away from simple sugars towards more healthy alternatives as sweeteners. She continued that “Our honey can fill that void and satisfy both the healthy eater and the person looking for an alternative sweetener. As we speak, we have researchers and marketers on the ground in international markets developing a strategy for market entry and searching for prospective buyers. However, we are aware that currently the domestic demand outweighs supply and as such honey production will have to increase.”
Through strategic partnerships, Ms. Daniel further explained that the Bee City Project is currently in the process of securing partnerships with certified honey production facilities to ascertain extraction and bottling are always done in a controlled and certified space that meets international requirements.
According to participant Mr. Peter Mitchell, the workshop is one of the critical aspects needed to develop Saint Lucia’s apiary industry. He said, “This workshop is timely, and facilitators have been able to impart knowledge and guidance, especially regarding the proposed certification of honey. We are happy about this intervention and the positive impact that the project will have on the apiary industry”.
It is expected that through this program, there will be an increase in production to meet the demand of the domestic and export markets.