Commission earmarks €120 million for beekeeping support

The European Commission will provide €120 million to the EU’s beekeeping sector over the next three years to support its essential role in agriculture and the environment.

This represents an increase of €12 million compared to the support provided for the period from 2017 to 2019.

The EU support, doubled by contributions from member states, will apply to national apiculture programmes starting on August 1, 2019, and running until July 31, 2022.

These programmes are designed at national level in cooperation with the sector with the aim to improve the conditions for the apiculture sector and the marketing of their products.

Measures include: education to beekeepers; support to start a beekeeping business; fighting against parasites damaging hives; and research or measures on improving honey quality.

EU Commissioner for Agriculture Phil Hogan said: “Beekeeping is an important part of the EU agri-food sector, helping to keep jobs in our rural areas.

“Bees are also vitally important for the sustainability of our agriculture and for healthy ecosystems.

Therefore it is to be welcomed that the Common Agricultural Policy, working in synergy with other key European and national funds, is now providing stronger tools to support the sector.

In 2018, the EU had over 17.5 million hives divided over 600,000 beekeepers. Beekeeping is practised in all EU member states and the European Union is the world’s second largest honey producer.

Honeybee colonies are essential for agriculture and environment, ensuring plant reproduction by pollination, while beekeeping participates to the development of rural areas, according to the commission.