A new group, known as the Samoa Apiculture Organization (SAO), was formed this week under the facilitation of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Progamme (SGP) office in Samoa.
SAO was established at a workshop held this week at the One UN House in Tuanaimato for interested beekeepers. The group organised themselves into a formal body to be recognised by the Government of Samoa and the UNDP GEF SGP.
The first workshop, held last week identified the need for this additional session to focus on honey farmers. A robust beekeeping organisation in accordance with the Government of Samoa’s special request was formed to benefit all interested beekeepers.
“UNDP is committed to creating opportunities for the people we serve to improve their livelihoods. The global honey market was valued at about eight billion U.S. dollars in 2020.This is an indication of how apiculture is fast becoming an industry to be reckoned with all over the world, and Samoa needs to align itself with this trend and maximize the socio-economic benefits it offers,” said Jorn Sorensen, UNDP Resident Representative.
SGP’s National Steering Committee (NSC) Chairperson, Nynette Sass, spearheaded the brainstorming sessions, which concluded with the establishment of SAO – Samoa Apiculture Organization, and the selection of an interim executive committee to start the process of registration.
“The follow-up workshop shows how much enthusiatic support is out there amongst keen beekeepers to revitalize our honey production industry.
The main objective of the workshop was to orientate the beekeepers about the need to set up a formal body that will help drive honey production
and create tangible benefits for the community.
With grant funding from the UNDP GEF SGP, this is an opportunity to create a stepping stone to bigger and better production, from community-based to large-scale industry,” said Nynette Sass, SGP NSC Chairperson.
“To give the new organization a chance to grow successfully, it is critical that a strong foundation is set. This means the values, expectations and objectives should be mutually agreeable to all. This will also ensure stronger buy-in from an inclusive membership.”
The new interim Executive Committee comprises a diverse mix of beekeeping professionals including Richard Wetzell, Shelley Burich, Sione Alailima, Fuimaono Sarona Ponifasio, Tofilau Raymond
Voight and Papalii Mele Maualaivao.
“Reviving the beekeeping industry is an important part of the process especially for a recognized body to apply for grant funding opportunities that will benefit the local honey production industry. The successful outcome of today’s workshop is a step in the right direction for the local
beekeeping association,” said Lilomaiava Filifilia Iosefa, UNDP GEF SGP National Coordinator.