While visiting Guyana (March 12-26) I had the opportunity to visit with 2 Guyanese honey producers, Kingdom Apiaries and Rajkumar Apiaries. Both are long time beekeepers with Rajkumar Apiaries spanning 3 generations. The owners confirm that Guyana honey producers are still a long way off from meeting domestic demand for honey. The beverage company, Banks Beer which uses large volumes of imported honey, alone would be a sizable contract for any honey producer. Not to mention the fact that most grocery stores throughout Georgetown are selling imported honey. The reason? Not enough domestic production as of yet. Additionally, nearby neighbors like Trinidad/Tobago and Barbados have a healthy appetite for honey and also rely heavily on imported honey.
After spending time with both Apiaries, several recommendations of action were made to assist them increase honey production efforts and begin to reap the benefits of developing the Guyanese honey market.
If developed properly while taking advantage of 2 key issues, proximity to the USA and Western Europe and fluency in English, Guyana could play a significant role exporting industrial quantities of honey worldwide. Just 10 years ago, Brazil was not a honey exporter and today, they are an important supplier of bulk honey worldwide, exporting USD $43.7M to the USA alone in 2008 (Source-National Honey Board/USDA).
-Submitted by: Daniel Shaneyfelt
The volunteer assignment was facilitated through a partnership arrangement between Partners of the Americas' FTF Program and EMPRETEC Guyana - an institution that is involved in promoting the development of small and medium enterprises by means of various capacity building initiatives.