"In Bulgaria, the sector with the highest relative share of the organic area is apiculture, with a share of 35.8% of the bee families of registered farmers". This was stated by the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Dessislava Taneva at a conference on "Problems of apiculture in the EU - long-term solutions" at the EC, Brussels, organized by MEP Andrey Slabakov.
Minister Taneva announced that the National Apiculture Program (NAP) will have a higher budget of BGN 6.4 million a year. “There are some new things in the 3-year period of the new apiculture program that are better for the farmers. Opportunities for organizing markets and exhibitions for the presentation of Bulgarian honey are listed in measure A "Technical Assistance". The aim is to shorten the supply chain and allow consumers to buy honey and bee products directly from the producer, which will guarantee higher added value. The exhibitions will be organized by apiculture associations, which will enhance their role and place. Another innovation under measure “C” of the Program is the cost of moving the bee hives. This will result in effective use of flower pastures and conservation of the diversity of plant species. Funding for laboratory testing, in terms of nutritional value and purity of honey, will be made under measure "D" of the Program, explained Minister Taneva. She added that an accreditation procedure is underway at an equipped laboratory to prove the poisoning of bee families during plant protection activities. A reception for afforestation with melliferous crops will be opened next year under the Rural Development Program.
Desislava Taneva stated that the sustainable environment created for the development of the sector and the role of plant protection products for bee health is important. She explained that next year the Bulgarian Food Safety Agency should have completed its work on creating an electronic system that would function effectively and notify for spraying. The Minister of Agriculture stressed that it was extremely important to motivate the use of environmentally friendly and safe for bees products for plant protection. "The procedures are difficult and we must look for ways to facilitate the access to such preparations and active substances to the Bulgarian market", Taneva said. She explained that there are 17 authorized preparations in the EU and 3 in Bulgaria. "The use of all must be automatically authorized for each EU Member State, regardless of the manufacturer's interest. Such a change in the Regulation would have a positive impact on the apiculture sector and we will initiate it”, Minister Taneva added.
Commenting on the debate on the new Common Agricultural Policy, the Minister stated that it has an ambitious green objective. "Apiculture must find its place in the tools to achieve it. During the current programming period, we received a notification for the development of a bee grazing measure that we cannot implement because we are in the final stages of implementing the Program. We can think about implementing it within the scope of the National Strategic Plan”, Minister Taneva added.
She pointed out that Bulgarian honey is mainly export oriented. The registered beekeepers for 2017 are 7672 and the bee families are 749 thousand. As of 2019 the producers are 6870, the registered bee families - 738 thousand. The decrease is small -3.3% compared to the previous period. The positive trend in these figures is the increase in the share of organic production. Compared to the nine-month sample this year, we will again be at the same export levels as in 2018, when about 10 719 tonnes were realized. Another trend is that farms are growing larger and the smaller ones, under 150 bee families are declining.
The candidate for European Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Janusz Wojciechowski was also present at the conference.