WORLD BEE DAY
Antigua & Barbuda in an effort to keep in sync with the regional celebration embarked upon several activities to commemorate “World Bee Day”. During the week of the May 16th a series of radio interview, television interview and tree planting exercises were scheduled for the twin island state.
On Wednesday 18th there was a tree planting exercise, which was a collaboration between the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Barbuda Affairs (MAFBA), Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) and The Beekeepers Cooperative. According to Brent Georges, MAFBA Projects Coordinator and President of the Antigua Beekeepers Cooperative Society several types of bees attracting trees were planted at the old BBC Relay Station located at Gunthropes.
“Today we are here celebrating World Bee Day which is a commemoration of bees and all the different aspects related to bees. Today we are here for a tree planting exercise at the old BBC compound,” Georges said.
Over the years, with the continuous technical assistance and support IICA has built quite a stupendous reputation with MoAFBA, local organizations, farmers and entrepreneurs. According to Craig Thomas, IICA National Specialist “IICA as an institution continues to support our local NGOs, and on this day, we are trying to encourage not only our beekeepers but the general population of Antigua & Barbuda to plant more bee-friendly trees.”
Approximately 50-60 trees were planted such as; coconut, ackee, mango, logwood, guava, golden shower, sugar cane, lignum vitae and mulberry. Shortly, there will be a similar exercise on the sister isle of Barbuda.
Joining Georges and Thomas for this momentous occasion were some dedicated local farmers and beekeepers in the persons of Thaddeus Spencer, Terrence James, Nicole Browne, Edison Hampson, Tanique Simon, Laura Abraham, Andrew Blanchard, Victor Harris and Jahmol Colbourne (Plant protection Officer and farmer). Special thanks to Mr. Spencer who started a similar initiative and for hosting the day’s event. All present, in his or her way expressed the importance of bees in Agriculture and the significance in planting more trees across the islands to
curtail the effects of drought. “My hope is that by planting trees I can help to offset the effect of drought in Antigua and the effect it has on our bees” Blanchard said. Another concern shared was pertaining to protection of the local biodiversity. “I am to here to support World Bee Day as bees can help improve biodiversity”, said Abraham.
Beekeeping is a widespread and global activity, with millions of beekeepers depending on bees for their livelihoods and well-being. Together with wild pollinators, bees play a major role in maintaining biodiversity, ensuring the survival and reproduction of many plants, supporting forest regeneration, promoting sustainability and adaptation to climate change, improving the quantity and quality of agricultural productions.
This year FAO and its partners celebrated World Bee Day through a virtual event, under the theme ‘Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems’
The event featured bee and pollinator experts and practitioners from across the world, with an opening video message by FAO Director-General QU Dongyu. The event will raise awareness on the importance of the wide variety of bees and sustainable beekeeping systems, the threats and challenges they face and their contribution to livelihoods and food systems.