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P.E.I. launches pollination expansion program

Kenneth Lewis, president of the P.E.I. Beekeepers Association, left, with Agriculture Minister Alan McIsaac and a beehive. The province is launching a new campaign to build a new generation of beekeepers.
Kenneth Lewis, president of the P.E.I. Beekeepers Association, left, with Agriculture Minister Alan McIsaac and a beehive. The province is launching a new campaign to build a new generation of beekeepers. - Submitted

P.E.I. is looking hoping to create some buzz about the local bee keeping industry.

The province recently announced the Pollination Expansion Program, designed to help new keepers enter into the industry.

Agriculture Minister Alan McIsaac said the initiative is a direct response to P.E.I.’s increasingly diverse agricultural sector.

Our lowbush blueberry sector requires increased pollination, and so will other fruit crops as we continue to expand acreage in highbush blueberries and apples,” said McIsaac.

“The Pollination Expansion Program will increase pollination capacity in our province while supporting our Island beekeepers and crop producers.”

Kenneth Lewis, president of the P.E.I. Beekeepers Association, applauded the announcement.

“The initiation of a pollination expansion program will be a great boost for not only meeting our Island’s pollination needs but also our 46 Island beekeepers,” said Lewis.

“This program gives our beekeeping community and those interested in the industry the opportunity to grow their career.”

Applicants to the program will have to submit an expansion plan for their operation, outlining their current number of hives and their proposed expansion plans. If the applicant is a new beekeeper, they must also submit an education plan outlining how they intend to get the required experience they need.

A new provincial apiarist and berry crop development officer, Cameron Menzies, will join the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries in February 2018 to lead the program.

Some of Menzies’ initial projects with the beekeeping sector will include:

  • Developing and delivering an introductory beekeeping course for new beekeepers;
  • Hosting information days and workshops for established beekeepers; and
  • Initiating research projects as identified by the industry.

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