In recent years, the number of EU beehives and beekeepers has grown, resulting in a 16% increase in production between 2014 and 2018.
Agriculture Commissioner Janusz Wojciechowski commented on the rising EU honeybee population, she said: “The apiculture sector is crucial to agriculture and biodiversity in general.
“We need to encourage beekeepers across the EU, and this is why I fully support the increase in EU funding for the next 3-years apiculture programme to €180m from €120m, as part of the Commission’s proposal for the next agriculture budget.”
As part of a report on the implementation of the EU apiculture programmes, published by the European Commission, the study provides an overview of the sector and of the support measures from the EU’s apiculture programmes.
According to the European Commission, 17.5m hives in the EU are managed by 650,000 beekeepers. Together, these beekeepers are responsible for the production of 280,000 tonnes of honey in 2018.
As the world’s second largest producer of honey, the EU co-finances apiculture programmes that are designed at national level in cooperation with the sector with the aim to improve the conditions of the apiculture sector and the marketing of their products.
The programmes run for three years at a time, an annual EU contribution of €36m was made available, which is subsequently doubled by national funds. In the years between 2020 and 2022, the annual contribution is set to increase from €36m to €40m, in attempt to increase the EU honeybee population and to increase profit.
In 2018, among the eight eligible measures for apiculture programmes, the measures receiving the most available funding with almost 60% combined were technically assistance and combatting beehive invader.
Restocking of beehives during the flowering season accounted for more than 30% of the budget combined. Other measures include; applied research, analyses of apiculture products, product improvement and market monitoring.
The European Commission proposed to include the apiculture programmes to the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) strategic plans. The programmes will also be made mandatory for Member States to ensure continuous uptake and support.