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Federal ministers to address bee mortality

10:50 11/05/2017

Bees are crucial for pollination and thus the survival of numerous fruit and vegetables, but in urbanised areas of Belgium, it is increasingly difficult for them to survive. Belgium has one of the highest bee mortality rates in Europe. Three federal ministers have a new plan ready to help reverse that trend, writes De Standaard.

The new plan aims to provide support for imkers, better understand bee mortality, manage the risks and mobilise all concerned. These are the four ambitions put forward by federal ministers Marie-Christine Marghem (Environment), Willy Borsus (Agriculture) and Maggie De Block (Public Health) in their plan for the next three years.

More specifically, the ministers want to encourage beekeepers to have a veterinarian on-hand to closely monitor their colonies, remove the levy to be paid on the sale of medicinal products for bees and closely follow the mortality rate of honeybees in order to further refine government policies. The plan also provides for prevention and eradication measures for the bees' 'enemies', such as the Asian hornet.

At a press conference, Borsus and Marghem emphasised the importance of bees for a number of reasons, including Belgium's economy. "Some of our local specialties would no longer be available without the intervention of bees," they said in a press release. "These include strawberries from Hoogstraten, honey and cucumbers, but also our numerous apple, pear and cherry orchards that could not produce any fruit without a cross pollination."

Written by Robyn Boyle