Australian beekeepers and horticulturalists are in the country to share their knowledge and skills with women’s groups and local farmers.
A group from the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental strategies (C.E.R.E.S.) in Melbourne, Australia met with Women in Business Development Incorporated (W.I.B.D.I.) staff and local farmers and did presentations on beekeeping processes.
Danny Pettingill, a conservation student at the C.E.R.E.S. and a honeybee farmer in Australia, gave a presentation to members of the Informal Gardeners Group and the Samoa Women’s Association of Growers.
Temukisa Rimoni of Rimoni Farms told Samoa Observer that she found the presentation valuable as a honey farmer herself, as not all beekeeping processes were known and extraction of honey was done by a single person.
“Yes very helpful. Normally we have Lester comes and extract the honey. There are a lot of things he does that I don’t understand during the process and he doesn’t have time to teach us, but I want to understand and be able to do it myself,” she said.
“It’s very important that we fully understand because we are trying to do it on our own because we only look after the bees and the hives and we do the bottling. I saw that this was being advertised on Facebook so I thought to myself, this is a good opportunity to learn from these experts.”
Samoa is currently experiencing a shortage in honey after Tropical Cyclone Gita decimated the bee population in February this year. But the sector appears to be recovering with Rimoni revealing that her bees are healthy and active, which has led to an increase in honey production at her farm.
Agriculturalist and cocoa farmer, Tuiatafu Nusi Moa Mauala, also found the demonstration helpful and agreed that they need to understand the whole process, saying that he is looking into setting up his own operation of beehives.
“I was actually looking into buying some boxes because I want to set up. I have a swarm of bees at my Savai’i plantation in Lano, I’ve told the workers to leave and not destroy and once we get organised, we’ll set up something like this,” he added.
While the presentation and demonstration by the C.E.R.E.S. members form part of their goal to build capacity and share knowledge in Samoa, they also brought boxers, smokers and beekeeping tools which were donated by Rotary.