Basseterre, St. Kitts, January 07, 2016 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Agriculture is providing a market for local farmers by encouraging the rejuvenation of the St. Kitts Bee Keepers Cooperative, as well as setting a trend for agro-processors to expand their market.
Alistair Edwards, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture, said that plans are already in place to assist the St. Kitts Bee Keepers Cooperative, as well as the Agro-Processors.
“They have already been given lands in the Belmont area to place their hives,” he said. “We have identified a building where they can do their processing of the honey and we will purchase some equipment to sell to them at little less than market cost.”
The permanent secretary stated that by providing the bee keepers with the necessary resources, it would effectively help in the production of honey and said that the ministry sees no hindrance towards the increased production.
He noted that this will be very beneficial to the economy due to the fact that honey is a product that St. Kitts and Nevis imports on a large scale, while adding that the marketability of honey has a high price on the local and international market.
“If we can produce our own, we will be saving a lot of foreign exchange, as honey comes mainly from Canada and North America,” he said.
Equally important is the Agro-Processing Unit which is located at Needsmust. Mr. Edwards noted that raw materials are purchased from local farmers and processed into a number of different things which are already on the shelves in the supermarkets and some hotels are already using the products.
At present, the Agro-Processing Unit produces breadfruit, pumpkin and cassava flours, plantain and sweet potato chips, sorrel, cane and carambola (five finger) juices, as well as dry foods such as prunes, wax apples and mangoes, just to name a few.