Australian Honey Bee Industry Council (AHBIC) and AgriFutures Australia, have examined the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires on local beekeepers and the pollination industry developing a six-point action plan providing a roadmap to rebuild the industry and its contribution to Australian agriculture.
According to AHBIC if the honey bee industry fails to recover from the bushfire crisis there simply won’t be enough healthy honey bees to provide pollination services for Australian food production, a vital part of our agriculture sector and the sectors’ $100 billion target in farm gate value.
“The environmental loss from the bushfires puts at risk $147 million worth of honey and hive products in Australia2. This is on top of the loss to other agricultural industries from decreased pollination and the agricultural sectors contribution to the Australian economy. The risk to the industry, sector and Australian food security cannot be overstated,” said AHBIC Chair, Trevor Weatherhead.
In order to produce profitable and sustainable honey and provide pollination services, honey bees need access to the floral diversity found in healthy forests.
He added the six point plans provides a roadmap for short-term support measures and longer-term industry changes that will make recovery possible. Its overall focus is on industry self-help and self-reliance once an initial recovery phase has been delivered.
“This requires an industry wide and coordinated approach, bringing together state industry bodies, private enterprise, State Governments, the Australian Government and professional beekeepers. For the industry’s success action ranges from immediate sugar and pollen subsidies, access to public lands even if only for the short term and industry outreach and engagement programs.”