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Bahamas Ministry of Agriculture Holds Beekeepers Town Meeting
By Gena Gibbs, BIS
Aug 17, 2016 - 5:07:18 PM

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NASSAU, The Bahamas -- The Ministry of Agriculture & Marine Resources and the Department of Cooperative Development held a Beekeepers Town Meeting, August 16, 2016 at the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IIAC) on Village Road to encourage its members to work together ‘like bees’ and build the Bahamian Beekeeping industry.

Judy Simmons, Department of Cooperative Development Acting Director of Societies for the Ministry, began by discussing the role of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Department of Cooperatives in developing the industry. She emphasized the importance of working together, gathering funding, buying or building hives, buying beekeeping suits, and learning the culture of beekeeping.

Manuel Messina, Representative of the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IIAC) spoke about the objectives of the Association of Caribbean Beekeepers' Organizations and the 8th Caribbean Beekeeping Congress to protect the ecosystem, specifically the food chain, by protecting the lives of bees.

Shacara Lightbourne, National Technical Specialist and IICA Representative, spoke about the organization's Beekeeping Training and Education Initiatives and Opportunities. She explained the many resources available to beekeepers through IICA to support the expansion of successful farms.


Nathan Burrows, a Beekeeper from Charlie Bee Farms, discussed the Beekeeping Business Opportunities and Co-ops, as well as Products and Services available for those getting in the industry. He spoke about inheriting Charlie Bee Farms, located on Long Island, from his father, who also spoke about being fascinated with a bee hive he found in a rock, which led Charlie Burrows to start a successful beekeeping business. Nathan spoke about staying in a beekeeping village in Beijing, China, near the Great Wall, where he learned about how a farm is operated there, so he could incorporate their techniques with those he learned from his father.

Jamaine Farrington, another beekeeper and owner of Beeland Farms, spoke about the potential of the Beekeeping Industry in The Bahamas to greatly impact the economy and the environment. He wrote a book called, "Beeland the Streaker" about his experiences in the industry and the knowledge he gathered about bee colonies and their culture. He also advised that wifi signals and cell phone signals can confuse bees and cause them to forget the location of their hive and Queen.

The last speaker, Kirk Barrow, another beekeeper and owner of Barrow's Bezness, spoke about where bees are located in The Bahamas and how to do bee extractions. He added that bees are sensitive to energy and fear and can become agitated by the presence of human vibrations that throw off their trajectory. He also touched on the natural medicinal benefits of using bee venom, in curing arthritis and other physical disorders.

The session was concluded with members filling out a beekeeping survey for research purposes, and new members filling out applications to join the Association.

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