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Castries, Saint Lucia (Friday March 19th, 2021) – The National Honey Show Training Workshop held February 15th and 16th, as part of the GEF SGP UNDP’s (Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme United Nations Development Programme) Knowledge Fair 2020/21, is being hailed a success by the organisers.

President of Iyanola Apiculture Collective (IAC), Richard Matthias stated, “this is the first activity of its kind directed at Saint Lucian and regional beekeepers and overall the two day session was well received, and attended, and there is a clear desire for more forums of this nature to be held.”

The two-day workshop was undertaken to prepare beekeepers and various others in the sector on how to prepare their entries in the island’s first ever National Honey Show scheduled to take place in December of this year.  The Honey Show will consist of a range of different categories, or classes, with a challenge for all levels, from the novice to the expert. Categories for the Honey Show includes Honey in Jar (both a standard category – Light, Amber, Dark, as well as a novice category – Light, Amber, Dark), Comb Honey, Wax (candles and bees wax blocks as well as beauty products), Mead (classic mead and flavored mead), Baking with Honey (standard recipe and an open class), and Art and Photography.

The event was facilitated by four world class presenters under the tutelage of Leading Expert and Certified Honey Judge, Ms. Jennifer Holmes, who is a University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) Master Beekeeper. Ms. Holmes is also an UF/IFAS Senior Honey Judge, current President of the Florida State Beekeepers Association, and Chair of Slow Food Treasure Coast.

Along with Ms. Holmes, the other presenters who also donated their time, knowledge and resources to Saint Lucia were Mrs. Karla Eisen of ApiSolutions Consortium, Dr. Valma Jessamy of Jessamine Eden Wellness Farm in Grenada, and Mr. Gladstone Solomon of the Association of Caribbean Beekeeping Organizations (ACBO).

Mr. Solomon, who is a longstanding correspondent of the Bees for Development Journal, as well as a member of the Bees for Development Trust and the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Organisations, made an informative address where he presented the experiences and lessons learned from Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in the National Honey Show in London, UK.  Mr. Solomon coordinated Trinidad and Tobago’s participation in the London National Honey Show between 1987 and 2001, winning 58 awards in various categories over the years, including the prestigious Hender Cup.

With the very positive response from participants locally and from around the region, Matthias now feels compelled to make the island’s first Honey Show a success.  “We now, as the organizers of the event, seeing the keen interest from the beekeeping fraternity locally and regionally, need to deliver a world class event in December,” said Matthias.  “We also had persons from the international beekeeping community who joined the workshop’s Q&A session such as the UK, USA and even as far as Indian and Kazakhstan.”

Matthias also stated that a second seminar will be hosted midway towards the competition date as a fresher in order to ready participants for the Honey Show.

When asked to comment on the Workshop, Mr. Giles Romulus who is the National Coordinator of the GEF SGP UNDP in Saint Lucia affirmed that “It is the intention of GEF SGP UNDP (Saint Lucia) for these activities to serve as a fillip for the development of the apiculture industry in Saint Lucia and the OECS.”  He further acknowledged the success of the event, organized by his organization in conjunction with the Caribbean Youth Environmental Network Saint Lucia Chapter.

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