Minister Gobin encourages local beekeepers to boost honey production
A one-day workshop on the Apiculture Project titled ‘Alternative Livelihoods for Food and Income Security in the four Indian Ocean Island Nations’ (Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros, Madagascar and in Zanzibar, United Republic of Tanzania), was launched, this morning, by the Attorney General, Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security, Mr Maneesh Gobin, at the Voilà Hotel in Bagatelle.
On the same occasion, the Minister remitted a one-off grant of Rs 20,000 to four local beekeepers for the purchase of beekeeping equipment under a scheme aiming at promoting apiculture. So far, out of the 33 beekeepers who have applied for the grant, five beneficiaries who have already procured their beekeeping equipment have obtained their grant. The beneficiaries present each remitted a sample of their honey production to the Minister and foreign experts present.
In his address, Minister Gobin reaffirmed Government's commitment to boost local production of honey and renewed his determination to provide local beekeepers with the necessary support. While underlining that in 2020, some 27 tons of honey were produced locally and some 300 tons were imported, the Minister stressed on the need to boost local production.
He remarked that there is a market for honey in Mauritius and encouraged local production and consumption of food. In addition, he cautioned that importation means losing the country’s foreign currency.
As regards boosting local production of honey in the country, Mr Maneesh Gobin stated that Government is injecting direct investment through cash grants and concession on road tax, from which so far three registered beekeepers have benefited for their double cab vehicles. He also added that the Agro-industry Ministry is considering increasing bee zone areas, and placing bee colonies in ‘chassés’, as well as setting up dedicated zones in naturally welcoming areas, including one new bee zone at Dauguet in Port-Louis.
Minister Gobin pointed out that the results from the honey samples that were obtained from beekeepers for analysis in the Food Technology Laboratory are encouraging. The results, he informed, showed that the local raw honey is of good quality as it has a sucrose content of less than 5%.
The Minister also expressed gratitude to the two foreign experts from Kenya currently dispensing training in Mauritius, for sharing their knowledge and experience. On that score, he underpinned the importance to know the way things are getting done elsewhere in the region. He urged the participants of the workshop to make the most of knowledge of the experts.
During the workshop, participants will be able to have an overview of the Apiculture Project in the four Indian Ocean Island Nations from foreign expert, Dr Elliud Muli, International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya. They will also have the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the findings on the socio-economic evaluation of the Apiculture Project in Mauritius by Dr Gichungi Hannah Mumbi, from the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology, Nairobi, Kenya.
It is recalled that in 2019, the Ministry of Agro-Industry and Food Security signed an agreement with the International Centre for Insect Physiology and Ecology for a two-year phase II project entitled ‘Alternative Livelihoods for Food and Income Security in four Indian Ocean Island Nations (Mauritius, Seychelles, Comoros and Madagascar) and in Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania)-Phase II’ to boost up apiculture in Mauritius.
This project is a follow-up of the phase I project which was implemented from 2015 to 2017. The Phase II project has been funded jointly by the Government of Mauritius and the International Fund for Agricultural Development. The main activities of the project have been the scaling up of technologies in improved beekeeping and pollination services and integration of forest conservation to consolidate gains in the first phase of the project; and establishing infrastructure and build and/or strengthen capacity to manage honey bee pests and honey quality control.
In 2020, 311 persons (including 65 ladies) were trained in beekeeping and a new model of beehive which assists the bees to fight against the varroa mite has been developed. Such beehives together with other beekeeping equipment have been distributed to 350 beekeepers.
In addition, three bee zones have been created. Three beekeepers were given access to place bee colonies at Petit Sable while 10 beekeepers have placed bee colonies at La Ferme, while another 10 beekeepers have placed bee colonies at Bras d’Eau. A total of 83 beehives have been placed at the three sites.
From 2016 to 2017, the Forestry Services planted some 17,000 melliferous plants including eucalyptus, roussaille, acerola, jamblon, lucuma, guava, tamarind and campêche have been planted at Bras d’Eau.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Republic of Mauritius.