Thursday, March 13, 2014

Heavy rainfall washing out honey production in St. Vincent

Desmond Brown in IPS: Allan Williams, 32, is an agriculture extension officer in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. But as a trained apiculturist, he has also been involved in beekeeping as a hobby for the past seven years. He has seen beekeeping grow significantly since 2006, as stakeholders became increasingly aware of its importance to the agricultural sector, and thus an important contributor to economic growth and development.

But today, Williams is worried. Honey production has declined tremendously over the past few years and he blames the changing climate as one of the main causes. He said unfavourable climatic conditions, such as continued heavy rainfall, reduce the honeybees’ access to nectar and pollen, weakening the colonies, which do not have enough food.

“This threat was very evident over the past decade, occurring exceptionally so in 2009, 2010 and 2013. The weather as you know is very unpredictable and it has definitely affected the production of honey for the last two years, but last year was the most destructive in terms of harvesting,” Williams told IPS.

“Climate change is evident as we see with the unpredictability of the rainfall and the flash flooding in very unusual times of the year.” Last December, St. Vincent and the Grenadines was among three Eastern Caribbean countries (the other two being Dominica and St Lucia) affected by a slow-moving, low-level trough which dumped hundreds of millimetres of rain, killing at least 13 people, destroying agricultural farms and other infrastructure. “Most farmers, from what I understand, did not suffer destruction of their hives but they suffered from the torrential rain,” Williams told IPS....

Honeycombs, shot by Merdal, Wikimedia Commons, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license 

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