Beekeepers in Seychelles and those wishing to join the field can now receive proper training through a new agreement signed with the Beekeepers Association of Seychelles and the Ministry of Agriculture.
Under the new agreement, the Association is leasing a small building from the National Biosecurity Agency to use as a training ground for beekeepers.
Previously used as the plant health and diagnostic lab, the renovated building at Union Vale, on the outskirts of the capital of Victoria, has offices, training rooms, a sales point and storage of beekeeping equipment and tools.
The chairman of the Association, Arthur Toule-Thilathier, said it is important for beekeepers to get training. “We want them to have a beginning and the know-how,” he said.
Aside from making honey, bees are vital parts of the ecosystem, acting as highly efficient pollinators of food crops as well as for wild flora.
The environment minister, Flavien Joubert, said that the signing shows that meaningful partnerships exist and can be achieved when there is real cooperation among all actors and partners.
“The Ministry is there to support all associations and stakeholders who are engaged in agricultural production. Honey production is one of many niche products that would help the country to develop a diverse and high yielding agricultural sector,” said Joubert.
“It is also good to emphasise the pivotal and vital roles that bees play to keep the biodiversity intact and to the continuous supply of fruits and vegetables through one of its primordial role of pollination without which fruit, seeds and vegetables production would be severely be affected,” he added.
Local authorities are holding talks on the situation of beekeeping around the world with the spread of Varroa mite, a parasite which attacks bees.
The parasite which can bring down a bee colony, reducing the population of bees available to pollinate flowers and produce honey, is affecting many countries of the world. It has also reached most of the islands of the Indian Ocean with the exception of Comoros and Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean.
Another natural menace which affects the bee population in Seychelles is the hairy caterpillars which resulted in a lot of insecticides being used on plants.
The vice chairman of the Association, Patrick Samson, said that the spraying of pesticides increased without proper control and this has affected the bees.
“For the time being, we do not have a policy regulating the spray of pesticides per se. As a result, a lot of important insects are killed. We are in the process of pushing for new regulations and national policies to control this industry,” he said.