JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Jamaica’s bee farmers are being encouraged to take advantage of a $10-million subsidy from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to support the purchase of feed.
  • The Ministry is reporting that this year’s honey crop, particularly from St. Elizabeth, is experiencing low production due to excessive rainfall and high winds.
  • Jamaica’s beekeeping industry currently features some 67,000 colonies managed by beekeepers. The country is the main producer of honey in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Jamaica’s bee farmers are being encouraged to take advantage of a $10-million subsidy from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries to support the purchase of feed.

State Minister, Hon. Franklin Witter, said the sum allocated doubles the amount provided in 2021.

“As we seek to build a robust and resilient agriculture sector, the Ministry remains committed to supporting the development of our beekeeping industry, and so this year, a subsidy of $10 million, which is a 100 per cent increase over last year, will be given to our farmers in the bee industry,” he noted.

He was speaking at a ‘World Bee Day’ event at the Ministry’s headquarters in Kingston on Friday (May 20), under the theme ‘Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems’.

Heavy rains and periods of drought last year destroyed blossoms, which affected the ability of bees to feed and produce honey.

The Ministry is reporting that this year’s honey crop, particularly from St. Elizabeth, is experiencing low production due to excessive rainfall and high winds.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Dermon Spence, told JIS News that “the bees are subject to the vagaries of climate change, and sometimes they are unable to find enough feed to produce at the optimum that the farmers would want. So, the farmers try to supplement the feed by providing some sugar”.

It is for this reason, he said, that the Ministry has allocated a feed subsidy, and increased the support this year.

The Permanent Secretary explained that the farmers can apply for the subsidy through the Apiculture Unit in the Ministry or their relevant bee association.

An assessment will be done by the Apiculture Unit to determine how the subsidy is distributed.

Meanwhile, Mr. Spence said that the Ministry is working with bee farmers to “build out the kind of system” that would facilitate exports to the European Union (EU), which, he noted, is a lucrative market for honey.

He noted that the country is accessing markets in the United States, United Kingdom (UK) and elsewhere.

“There is huge potential there that the Ministry has recognised and because of that, we are providing the kind of support not only in technical services but also in grants to enhance the most critical stage of the production and productivity of the bees, that is, when they are running short on feed,” Mr. Spence said.

This is the first time that Jamaica is observing World Bee Day since it was approved by the United Nations in 2017.

Several bee farmers and stakeholders participated in the event, which included a tree-planting ceremony.

Jamaica’s beekeeping industry currently features some 67,000 colonies managed by beekeepers. The country is the main producer of honey in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Skip to content