A new Apiary Taskforce has been formed to drive further economic opportunities for the state’s bee industry, with a further 20,000 hives required to meet pollination demand in the South Australian almond industry.
The Apiary Taskforce is made up of representatives from the Apiary Alliance South Australia, the South Australian Apiarists Association, ForestrySA, SA Water, Department for Environment and Water and Primary Industries and Regions SA.
Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said the taskforce will take an economic approach to growing the bee industry in South Australia.
“The Apiary Taskforce will discuss future opportunities to strengthen the bee industry in South Australia and support growth for the state’s horticulture industries,” said Minister Whetstone.
“Honey production contributes about $11 million to the South Australian economy but the value of pollination services is $1.7 billion.
“Pollinating agricultural and horticultural crops is the most significant role our bee industry plays and exploring opportunities to increase access for pollination is critical.
“A key focus for this taskforce will be determining how new beekeeping sites can be identified, assessed for suitability, and managed.
“Increasing pollination capacity will ensure a healthy bee industry and healthy agricultural and horticultural industries into the future.”
Apiary Alliance South Australia Chair Danny Le Feuvre said the apiary industry plays an important role in South Australia’s agricultural and horticultural industries.
“Ensuring beekeepers have the tools to maintain healthy honeybees will ensure our industry has the capacity to provide pollination services,” said Mr Le Feuvre.
“As a honeybee industry we provide pollination services to numerous crops including almonds, apples, cherries, avocados, berries, small seeds and some broadacre crops.
“With the growing pollination pressure on the honeybee industry it’s critical we create additional high quality refuge sites where bees can build strength before pollination events, and recover post pollination.
“This new taskforce is an important collaboration and we are looking forward to the opportunities we can identify together.”