Valuing Honeybee Pollination

  • 47 pages

  • Published: 1 Jun 2003

  • Author(s): Gordon, Jenny, Davis, Lee

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This report was commissioned to update estimates made by Gill in 1989, which put the value of the honeybee pollination services to Australian agriculture as between $0.6 and $1.2 billion. This value is estimated as the cost to Australia of a sudden and complete loss of honeybee pollination services. Expanding the number of crops included in the impact estimates to 35 and allowing for adjustments in exports and imports the loss to Australian producers and consumers of the affected crops is estimated to be $1.7 billion in 1999-2000. The decline in the value of agricultural production would be $1.6 billion putting 9 500 jobs at risk. And the flow-on impacts of this magnitude of shock to the Australian economy are also potentially high with an additional $2 billion loss in surplus and 11 000 jobs.

The study points to the need to better understand the potential for the development of commercial pollination services, which is an alternative approach for ‘valuing’ honeybee pollination. Constraints on honeybee producers to expand the industry and provide such services will limit their capacity to respond to demand and result in higher costs imposed on agriculture should an exotic disease incursion arise.