Number of beekeepers increases through FAO-sponsored training, which aims to boost food-production capacity

Local beekeepers are honing their skills through training from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA).

The ongoing exercise saw a second group – three females and 11 males – being trained in beekeeping practices and business management, as part of an FAO project dubbed “Rebuilding the resilience of the agriculture sector and livelihoods of Barbudans affected by Hurricane Irma.”

According to officials, “The project, which was designed with climate challenges in mind, aims to increase the number of local beekeepers to create sustainable food and agriculture systems.”

It was also developed in response to the devastating effects of Hurricane Irma, and its capacity building aligns with Barbuda’s adoption of the Green Island concept.

A recently held workshop focused on increasing capacity by using a blended learning approach that combines practical and theoretical skills.

The new beekeepers went through classroom sessions in which they learned business management, including record keeping; the importance of critical thinking as an entrepreneur; and guidance on registering their business as a honey producer.

Additionally, participants studied the value chain and their own critical role as producers and processors in contributing to national food security.

During the practical training sessions, the participants visited an apiary.  There, they were exposed to effective beehive-management techniques and a tutorial on safety practices when managing and handling bees.

Each participant was provided with a start-up apiary kit, which included a brood box, 10 frames, a smoker, bee suit and a hive tool – basic inputs a new beekeeper would need.