The Apiary Project began in 2018 in collaboration with the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), the Ministry of Grand Bahama and the Department of Cooperatives. The 16 week program trained young people in beekeeping and provided financing for small business startup. Of the 27 persons participated 25 were under 30 and 16 were women. The Bank ultimately provided funding totaling $182,561 to 7 members of the Program under soft lending terms that included: eased equity requirements; a one-year moratorium on loan payments without accrual of arrears; and waived normal collateral requirements.
Program participants have successfully organized themselves into a cooperative, which is registered and licensed as Grand Bahama Beekeepers Co-operative Society (GBCC) Limited. Additionally, 9 businesses have been formed and are involved in honey production (infused and standard organic), bee extraction, soap, jewelry, shoe polish, body butters and scrubs, bath salts, candle, muscle rub and lip balm production.
Participants from the Apiary project traveled to Barbados to participate in the Caribbean week of Agriculture where they presented a range of products.
Although the Grand Bahama program suffered a setback with Hurricane Dorian, the beekeepers are rebounding. The success of the Apiary program has provided a model for other projects.