Bees want to live. Why is Ukrainian beekeeping at risk?

What additional regulatory tools should be introduced to protect the beekeeping industry?

In Ukraine, bees are killed in great numbers as a result of poisoning from pesticides and agrochemicals used in agriculture every year. According to our estimates, beekeepers lose about 46,000 bee families every spring. This year, Poltava, Rivne, and Chernihiv regions were affected the most.

Currently, the Law of Ukraine “On Beekeeping” and other by-laws cannot protect beekeepers from the death of bees, in particular, when it comes to the safe use of plant protection agents (PPAs) by farmers.

The regulation of the PPA market also does not reduce risks: 127 acts and 73 tools to regulate pesticides and agrochemicals create a complicated system to register new agents and this lead to the fact that the informal market of these products (which is often low-quality and harmful) is up to 30%.

Besides, the existing acts also do not adequately regulate the process of collecting and certifying evidence allowing beekeepers to defend their interests in court.

BRDO experts once again emphasize the need to amend the acts regulating the beekeeping market. We have developed a draft order of the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture “On Some Issues in Beekeeping”.

This order can solve the problem of regular bee poisoning and make beekeepers more legally protected.

Why is this important?

According to data for 2019, Ukraine is among the top five main exporters of honey having 5.7% of all global stocks of this natural sweet product. However, we could safely claim the beekeeping leadership, if our bees did not die in great numbers.

Of course, the farmers only cannot be blamed for the poisoning of bees from PPAs, as the actions of beekeepers often lead to such poisonings, while the failure to resolve the issue at the legislative level does not help any of these parties. That is why actions aimed at solving the issue should be comprehensive.

Interestingly, 98% of Ukrainian honey is produced by private farms and only 2% – by registered economic entities. The reason is simple: unfavorable conditions for official registration of beekeepers.

As a rule, an entrepreneur will have more than 26 contacts with public authorities from the beginning of production to the actual sale of honey. The huge number of requirements and regulatory tools do not allow businesses to clearly understand the rules of conduct in the market.

That is why a systematic review of the regulatory framework quality is an important step to address existing problems and simplify the agribusiness environment in Ukraine.

What kills Ukrainian bees?

In most cases, beekeepers are not informed about the planned measures to protect agricultural lands from pests. Everything is complicated by the situation on the PPA (plant protection agents) market, as about 30% of these agents are illegal. Such chemicals are considered particularly hazardous, so there should be effective government supervision and control over regulatory compliance.

Moreover, Ukraine still does not have any legislative mechanism for cooperation between beekeepers and farmers, and Ukrainian farmers simply do not understand that the principle of good neighborliness can bring them much more benefits.

It is necessary to establish a procedure of good neighborliness between beekeepers and agricultural producers to prevent the death of bees. The good-neighborliness agreement will allow farmers and beekeepers to hear and understand each other. This will reduce the risks of bee poisoning and increase the productivity of both areas of the economy.

How to save bees?

The Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) proposes to make it mandatory to register beekeepers with village councils not as entrepreneurs, but for record-keeping purposes to inform them about the possible use of agrochemicals harmful to bee farms.

It is important to make this registration simple and free of charge, so it takes as little time as possible. Additionally, it is proposed to simplify the form of bee farm certificates, create a single database on issued or revoked documents, and most importantly, ensure a more detailed work on the prevention of bee poisoning by plant protection agents.

Honey producers will receive information about the use of plant protection agents by farmers in advance being able to officially certify the losses due to the negligence of farmers.

Besides, it will allow making the beekeeping industry to operate officially. I would like to emphasize that according to official data, Ukraine exports more honey than it produces. For example, in 2017, Ukrainian beekeepers produced 66.7 thousand tons, and the state exported 68 thousand tons.

The market participants, in particular, the Union of Beekeepers of Ukraine supporting our initiatives, knows about this fact.

Finally, the best market regulation means simple and clear principles enshrined in law.

That is why we have prepared a draft order “On Some Issues in Beekeeping”, so that the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture immediately takes measures to save the Ukrainian beekeeping.

In particular, the order proposes:

  • approving the Instruction on prevention of bee poisoning by plant protection agents;
  • approving the new bee farm certificate form and the procedure for its issuance;
  • approving the bee farm registration procedure;
  • defining the Soviet “Instruction on prevention of bee poisoning by pesticides” of 14/06/1989 as invalid.

I am sure that we can help Ukraine move at least to the third place in the world among honey-exporting countries. But Ukrainian bees should be saved immediately. I’m surprised that Ukrainian IT developments help government officials in the United States and France monitor the welfare of bees there, while our bees die from mass poisoning by plant protection agents after field sanitation practices.

And we can not put a mask on a bee.

Source: Economichna Pravda