Bees want to live: rules of good neighborliness for beekeepers and farmers

Bees pollinate more than 80% of the world’s plants.

These insects increase the productivity of crops, and their unique by-product is known worldwide.

In Europe, the economic effect of pollination is estimated at 22 billion euros per year.

In Ukraine, beekeeping has been a popular activity for many centuries. Now it is a source of income for small and medium-sized businesses in villages.

However, some acts regulating the industry were adopted in Soviet times and do not cope with current challenges.

Bee conservation has recently become a critical issue. Due to air pollution, bees are in danger of dying out. One of the key threats to them is agrochemical poisoning.

The main reason is the lack of effective communication and cooperation between farmers and beekeepers. Farmers use plant protection agents on their lands, while beekeepers lose thousands of bee colonies as a result. This leads to millions of hryvnias of direct losses and hundreds of millions of hryvnias of indirect losses.

The economic effect of plant pollination by bees is measured not only by the cost of honey collected. Pollination also boosts crop yields and brings additional profits to the agricultural sector, but there are just a few positive cases of cooperation between beekeepers and farmers in our country.

One of them is the pollination of sunflowers that are grown by the Agroindustrial Group Arnika. (2,325 bee families from Poltava and Cherkasy regions were involved). Beekeepers received honey, and farmers — a good crop.

The Ministry of Economy and the Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) have been working with the Association of Beekeepers and all parties concerned for three years to address beekeeping issues, in particular concerning the policy of good neighborliness of beekeepers and farmers.

This cooperation resulted in the Order of the Ministry of Economy #338 “On some issues in beekeeping” dated February 19, 2021. The approval of this document is an important step in ensuring an eco-friendly environment and protecting biological diversity in Ukraine.

In particular, the order introduces clear rules of the game for the state and beekeepers, creates modern and effective tools for regulating the beekeeping market.

This implies a simple and fast procedure for registration of bee farms and issuance of veterinary and sanitary certificates of bee farms, effective instructions for prevention and determination of a fact of bee poisoning by plant protection agents, the introduction of a mechanism for economic assessment of losses from bee poisoning.

From now on, the state, beekeepers, and other concerned parties will be able to obtain reliable information on the number of bee farms and the volume of honey production. The order also introduces a mechanism of communication regarding the use of plant protection agents between beekeepers and farmers that will prevent bee poisoning.

The next step should be the adoption of the Law “On Beekeeping” that will comprehensively regulate all problematic issues in the industry, as well as a legal document that will regulate the legal relationship regarding pollination.

As known, Ukraine must harmonize its legislation under the commitments made to the European Union and the requirements of the EU to producers in terms of implementing the European Green Deal.

As part of this policy proposed by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, two important strategies have been published:  published: Farm to Fork (F2F) and Biodiversity.

Pollinators, including bees, are included in both strategies. Biodiversity is focused on the protection and restoration of natural areas, stimulation of sustainable and organic agriculture development.

The Biodiversity’s priority is to reduce the use of harmful pesticides for reducing the negative impact on natural ecosystems and preserving pollinators. Also, bees are discussed in paragraphs of the section “Bring nature back to agricultural lands” of the F2F strategy.

The authorities should continue to create a safe beekeeping infrastructure in Ukraine and conditions for agricultural producers to access EU markets in line with the Green Deal purposes.

SourceEconomichna Pravda