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Beekeeping in Greece: problems and proposals. Vasilis Ntouras , President Federation of Greek Beekeepers Associations OMSE. My job and my co-workers in the field. In OMSE’s office. With and. Greek beekeeping in numbers. 1.500.000 bee colonies 17.000 beekeepers

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beekeeping in greece problems and proposals

Beekeeping in Greece: problems and proposals

Vasilis Ntouras, President

Federation of Greek Beekeepers Associations OMSE

greek beekeeping in numbers
Greek beekeeping in numbers
  • 1.500.000 bee colonies
  • 17.000 beekeepers
  • 6000 professionals (>150 colonies)
  • ~20.000 tons of honey/year
  • ~15 kgr/colony /year
  • 12 colonies/km2
  • 4 transportationsper year on average
Honey production cost is high

Honey yield per colony and year is low

Yet, the quality of Greek Honey is unique

beekeeping in greece has certain very specific characteristics
Beekeeping in Greece has certain very specific characteristics
  • Mountainous land
  • Hot-dry climate
  • Farming area is ~ 28% of the land
  • GMO free
  • High biodiversity

~6500 plant taxa

  • Colonies have to be moved a lot (transhumance)
  • Low production per hive

15 kgr of honey/colony/year

greece usually has a very small percentage of bee losses 10
Greece-usually!-has a very small percentage of bee losses (~10%)

Three reasons:

  • Small fraction of bee foraging in crops/foraging in natural ecosystems (small exposure to pesticides)
  • Rich biodiversityand a long productive period (winters are short)
  • The Greek beekeeper’s mentality: lost colonies must be replaced ASAP
causes of bee losses in greece
Causes of bee losses in Greece
  • Climate change – extreme weatherphenomena become frequent(scorchers, drought, floods, strong winds)
  • Loss of bee foraging habitat

(forest fires, over-grazing, tourism,urbanization)

  • Pesticidesandparticularlyneonicotinoids
Bees that fed on crops where neonicotinoids were used,exhibit some 35-50% losses

in the following 8-month period.

Colony defensecollapsesand it becomes vulnerable to several pathogens, the way an AIDS patient is…

cotton honey a great paradigm
Cotton honey:a great paradigm
  • Before neonicotinoids, which are systemic,sprayings in cottonkilled a lot of forager bees
  • Still the outcomewas a positive oneas the colony managed to gather about 30 kgrof honeyand replace the foragers lost
  • Nowadays, after the massive lossesthe beekeepers have suffered from 2005 and on, the 3000 tonsof cotton honeyare history…
  • By the way, cotton honey is a very tasty flower honey with great antibacterial and antioxidant properties!
In 2011 and 2012 more than 10.000 coloniesdied offin Atticaand some islands,because of sprayings on palm trees with neonicotinoid insecticides approved for red beatle control
the beekeeper replaces the bee colonies he has lost
The beekeeperreplacesthe bee colonies he has lost

Bee colony loss is translated into livestock loss

and honey production lossand consequently

income loss for the beekeeper.

How longcan beekeepers stay in businessmaking up for the damage on their own?

what is omse doing
What is OMSE doing ?

How can we achieve a pollinator friendly agricultural model?

political pressure through wide political and social alliances
Political pressure throughwidepoliticaland socialalliances
  • Greek Mps και MEPs
  • Greenpeace
  • Scientists –Scientific organisations
  • Consumer organisations
  • Farmers unions –Organic Farmers unions
  • NGOs
  • Internet Campaigning Communities (avaaz, changeetc)
  • Coordination with Europe’s beekeepers (EPBA, CoEur)
action for co existence
Action for co-existence

In 2012-2013 we organised 3 events in 3 cities(Chania, Nafplionand Arta)to bring beekeepers and orange growerstogether

what the greek beekeepers ask
What the Greek beekeepers ask:

Legal supportin EU level for

  • Protection from pesticides
  • Protection from GMOs
  • Clear distinctions between locally produced beekeeping products from imported ones posing as local
we propose
We propose:

The 'bee-friendly' label should be included in the EU legislation on agricultural product quality as a quality term

we propose1
We propose:

Direct aid to beekeepers from the 2nd pillar of the CAP for their contribution to food production, to the environment and biodiversity

     In countries like Greece where bees provide pollination, for the most part, to non-cultivated plants and beekeepers pay additional costs for moving the bees (transhumance) we request from the Community

to include in the new CAP a “pollinationsubsidy”

we propose2
We propose:

The 3 –year apiculture programmes (Regulation EC 1234/07) should run on

a 7-year basis in harmony with the CAP

our thanks
Our thanks

To the GreenMEP’sfor all their efforts to support the bees and European beekeeping!

Thank you

for listening!