The spotlight was on the province’s honeybees and other native pollinators at the Parliament Buildings, as May 29, 2019, was proclaimed the official Day of the Honey Bee in British Columbia.
Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, was joined on the steps of the Parliament Buildings by representatives of the BC Honey Producers Association, Capital Region Beekeepers Association and Worker Bee Honey Company. She announced that the Bee BC program will receive up to $100,000 a year over the next three years to support community-based research on bee health.
“The beekeeping community in the province plays an important role in the daily lives of every British Columbian in B.C.,” said Popham. “They contribute to our amazing agricultural industry by pollinating crops and produce delicious locally produced honey that British Columbians can trust. Bee health is important to our government, which is why we’re increasing funding to Bee BC to support community-based research projects, to help support future generations of honeybees and other native pollinators.”
The topics of honey bee and pollinator health were discussed. Peter Awram of the Worker Bee Honey Company spoke about his work developing a B.C. honey purity database. The BC Honey Producers Association was onsite with manual extractors and observation hives to help educate visitors about how honeybees work and how honey is harvested from hives.
“We appreciate all the help and support from the ministry and the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC for helping ensure that honey, the only truly natural sweetener, stays pure,” said Awram. “We are going to make sure that B.C. honey stays being the highest quality honey in the world.”
Since 2017, the Province and the Investment Agriculture Foundation have provided $150,000 to Bee BC. The program is delivered by the foundation and supports small-scale regional or community-based projects to research, explore, field test and share information about best management practices associated with bee health.
“The beekeepers of B.C. truly appreciate the support from Minister Popham and the people of B.C. through the Ministry of Agriculture,” said Kerry Clark, president, BC Honey Producers Association. “Our beekeepers’ association will continue to work hard to try to enable our piece of the bee world to improve.”
Bee BC funding is helping British Columbians get active and inspired to save the province’s bees and pollinators. To date, 29 projects have been funded through the program. The third round of projects just began, with close to $27,000 allotted to the six projects underway.
The government has also increased support for the honey bee industry since taking office in 2017. Late last year, the province signed on as a co-sponsor of a study to find solutions to the bee-health problems of honey bee colonies involved in pollination, contributing $50,000 to support that research.
B.C. beekeepers will also be well represented at the 46th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress taking place in Montreal in fall 2019, thanks in part to a contribution of $20,000 in provincial support to send representatives of B.C.’s beekeeping industry.
The five-day event, themed “working together within agriculture, Canada’s answer to sustainable beekeeping,” will focus on the relationships between farmers and beekeepers. It will also focus on honey purity and the issues that are challenging the honey sector, such as global climate change and the implementation of new technologies.
Honeybees play an important part of B.C.’s agriculture sector as pollinators of crops, contributing an estimated $538 million to the economy in British Columbia. Across Canada, they have an economic contribution estimated at over $3.2 billion.
Bee BC: https://iafbc.ca/bee-bc/
BC Honey Producers Association: http://bchoneyproducers.ca/
Worker Honey Bee Company: http://www.workerbeehoney.ca/
46th Apimondia International Apicultural Congress: https://www.apimondia2019.com/
For information about the Ministry of Agriculture’s Apiary program, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/agriculture-seafood/animals-and-crops/animal-production/bees
A backgrounder follows.