A National Apiculture platform, which will help in creating a greater regional awareness of the potential of the industry as well as lay emphasis on the importance of the domestic beekeeping industry, was launched on Wednesday 15 November 2017 during a workshop at Domaine Les Pailles in presence of the Minister of Agro-Industry and Food Security and Minister of Housing and Lands, Mr Mahen Seeruttun.
The two-day workshop has as objective to address issues hindering the growth of honey production and devise action plans to trigger apiculture as a key sector in Mauritius.
In his address, the Minister highlighted that the potentials of the apiculture sector need to be further tapped so as to promote sustainable agriculture and ensure food security.
He recalled that apiculture, which is practised mainly as a part-time activity in Mauritius, has been affected by the presence of the varroa mite and the small hive beetle. As a result, he said, honey production has decreased significantly over the previous years. Consequently, Government has taken several initiatives to support beekeepers, he underscored. These include training and capacity-building programmes carried out by international experts on beekeeping management for some 360 beekeepers.
Organic beehive and beekeeping kits comprising organic beehive, hat and veil, smoke and hive tool have been distributed to beekeepers in Mauritius and Rodrigues, the Minister added. Bee reserve zones, he pointed out, have also been set up in different regions to increase the productivity of honey.
Speaking of organic honey production, Minister Seeruttun urged beekeepers to adopt environmentally-smart agricultural practices and use organic techniques to generate high-quality products.
For her part, the project officer of the Apiculture Development African Union-InterAfrica Bureau for Animal Resources, Dr Sarah Ossiya, emphasised that the National Apiculture platform will create synergies among stakeholders of the sector, and will help increase their willingness to mobilise resources collectively for the production of honey. Mauritius like other African countries should invest more in apiculture in order to access international markets, she added.