The European Commission announced Monday it is to provide EUR 120 million to the EU's beekeeping sector over the next three years, in order to support its essential role in agriculture and the environment.
This represents an increase of EUR 12 million compared to the support provided for the period from 2017 to 2019.
This amount, doubled by national contributions from Member States, will apply to national apiculture programmes starting on 1 August 2019 and running until 31 July 2022.
The programmes are designed by EU Member States in cooperation with the sector at national level with the aim of improving the conditions for the apiculture sector and the marketing of their products.
Honeybee colonies are essential for agriculture and environment, ensuring plant reproduction by pollination, while beekeeping participates to the development of rural areas.
Measures include for example education to beekeepers, support to start a beekeeping business, fighting against parasites damaging hives, and research or measures on improving honey quality.
In 2018, the EU had over 17.5 million hives divided over 600,000 beekeepers. Beekeeping is practiced in all EU Member States and the European Union is the world's second largest honey producer.
As the world's second most important honey producer after China, the EU offers a variety of apiculture products not just honey, but also pollen, propolis, royal jelly and beeswax. However, the EU is also a net importer of honey from third countries.