SYDNEY, AAP – The NSW bee industry industry is getting nearly $2 million to train aspiring apiarists, breed more queen bees and pursue medicinal honey opportunities.
It’s a welcome boost for the industry after it was devastated by the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires, with more than 9800 hives destroyed and 88,000 impacted by heat and smoke.
Agriculture Minister Adam Marshall announced the $1.9m at the NSW Apiarists Association Conference in Tamworth on Thursday.
“To ensure industry can recover as quickly as possible, we’re supporting a number of projects designed to boost confidence in the sector, as well as increase the resilience and sustainability of the industry,” he said in a statement.
Public land will be audited to identify suitable hive locations and provide access to more floral resources that are vital for bee health and honey production.
A ‘honey library’ will also be established to help identify the unique profile of NSW honey to ensure provenance as well as protect the high-quality reputation of the state’s industry.
Subsidised commercial beekeeper training will be available “to give aspiring apiarists the knowledge and skills they need to thrive in the industry, with a focus on honeybee biosecurity and queen bee breeding”.
The support package will deliver six apiary industry support and research programs, coordinated by Sydney University
The six projects include:
* Audit of NSW government land for suitability as bee sites
* Establishing pollinator-friendly plants in rural NSW
* Upskilling beekeepers with subsidised courses in biosecurity and queen breeding
* Establishing a ‘honey library’ by profiling the unique chemical composition of NSW honey
* Research new honey markets: including honey as a health food to fight gut infections
* Research enhancing forest and bee health for high-value medicinal honey