$1 million package to support Qld beekeepers

Wednesday, 12 February, 2020

$1 million package to support Qld beekeepers

A $1 million emergency package has been allocated towards Queensland’s beekeeping industry. The package will fund the waiver of this year’s permit fees for accessing state forests and protected areas, and provide free access to a large stockpile of bee feed sugar. The stockpile will serve as emergency feedstock for the industry, which has been faced with intense drought and bushfires in recent months. The stockpile will be distributed to Qld beekeepers in need from Hive & Wellness’s (formerly Capilano honey) Richlands headquarters in outer western Brisbane.

“Queensland’s horticulture is very dependent on having a thriving and viable honey bee sector. Worker bees are our farmers’ great friends, pollinating crops worth hundreds of millions of dollars across the state. Avocados, macadamias, blueberries, melons and almonds are just a few of the large commercial crops that depend on bee pollination to ensure a marketable crop. The Drought Relief Assistance Scheme has already paid out over $10 million in the 2019/20 financial year and recent levels of demand show no sign of decreasing,” said Mark Furner, Minister for Agriculture Industry Development and Fisheries.

Despite recent rains, Queensland honey production was down 30% last year and could drop 70% this year, with production predicted to remain low for the foreseeable future. The beekeeping industry is vital, as it provides pollination services critical to the state’s broader horticulture industry. Of the 79,000 commercial hives in Queensland, 45,000 are used for pollination.

“This critical package will support Queensland beekeepers and their bees until the bushland recovers and can properly sustain hives again, leading to a return to regular honey production and pollination services. It is great to see the Queensland Government showing leadership and investing in the state’s beekeeping and agricultural future. We are grateful for the time they have spent engaging with us and the Queensland Beekeepers Association to understand the issues and the kind of help required,” said Ben McKee, Hive & Wellness Chief Operating Officer.

“This announcement will provide direct and immediate financial relief to our hardworking Queensland beekeepers. These site fee waivers will ensure the security of beekeeping sites, which beekeepers use as a healthy haven between pollination services,” said Jo Martin, Queensland Beekeepers Association state secretary.

Image credit: ©iStockphoto.com/Ludmila Smite

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