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Dec 15, 2022

Ministry of Agriculture Graduates Forty Beekeepers Following Training

Over forty newly-qualified beekeepers graduated today after successfully completing training in that field of work. The beekeepers, who hail from all across the country, gathered at Hodie’s Place in San Ignacio to receive their certificates of completion. The accomplishment means more than just the fact that Belize has more honey producers. It means that the once thriving industry can again become a revenue earner on the export market. News Five’s Marion Ali reports.


Marion Ali, Reporting
The forty plus persons who received their certificates of completion from a beekeeping course in the Cayo District signifies that Belize is once again able to export honey, like we did back in the eighties, says Minister of Agriculture, Jose Abelardo Mai.


Jose Abelardo Mai

Jose Abelardo Mai, Minister of Agriculture, Food Security & Enterprise

“Way back in the eighties the production of honey fell. It fell so low that there was barely any production. We use to export to Europe at that time, so after so many years and efforts we couldn’t get it up until now.  Now we’ll have to move forward towards looking at the export market, noh. We only have a certain amount that can be consumed countrywide because of the population.”


The possibility of getting Belizean honey on the world market would mean a good livelihood for Stephanie Ramirez, who received her certificate today.


Stephanie Ramirez

Stephanie Ramirez, Beekeeper

“Definitely, that’s the goal, to be able to tap into the export market and to be able to tap into the other bi-products of the bees, because a lot of times we put our emphasis on honey, but there are many other bi-products that are even more expensive, so it would you would get a bigger income if you start diversifying into the other bi-products, such as the pollen the royal jelly, so we can get on that level with Mexico and Guatemala.”


Along with Stephanie were Ofelia Chiac and Melvin Requeña whose families are also into the business. For them, it was only natural that they pursued the same means of income.


Melvin Requeña

Melvin Requeña, Beekeeper

“We grew up in agriculture so it was necessary to have the bees on the farm because the bees have different pollination services to the fruit which also then increases our production, which also means increase in profits for the family.”


Ofelia Chiac

Ofelia Chiac, Beekeeper

“My father and my grandparents were beekeepers, but when I realized I didn’t have anything to do during the pandemic, I was at home actually then was when I realized that it is something – the idea came from my son and that was when we started to go into it.”


The beekeepers spent the past few weeks learning every aspect of beekeeping.


Jose Abelardo Mai

“Management, managing bees. Nobody needs to get bee sting you know, but that’s the first thing they have to deal with, bee stings, the day-to-day practices, how to you establish your hives, how do you set them up, what are some of the constraints, the problems you deal with, just like a farm. It’s a farm.”


To get Belizean honey export-ready, however, there would have to be certain marketing and quality assurance standards in place.


Jose Abelardo Mai

“It means now that we would have to have good traceability in place. We have to have good manufacturing practices; we have to have good standards in place if we’re going to tap into the export market.”


Marion Ali

“What countries are we thinking of and how much revenues are we looking at?”


Jose Abelardo Mai

“I’m unable to say right now. It’s a little premature to say which countries we’re exporting to and what is the value of the exports, but from indications, the market for organic honey is great in Europe.”


The beekeepers all received equipment they will need to manage their apiaries. Reporting for News Five, I am Marion Ali.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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