Nuo 2012 metų Europos bičių ir apdulkinimo savaitė, neformaliai vadinama „Bitininkystės savaitė“, kasmet vyko Europos Parlamente Briuselyje. 2021 metais renginys buvo pervadintas į ES Apdulkintojų savaitę, siekiant sukurti platesnį bendradarbiavimo pagrindą, sutelkiantį dėmesį į visų tipų Europos apdulkintojus. 2023 metų ES Apdulkintojų savaitė vyksta nuo lapkričio 28 iki 30 dienos. Per tris produktyvias dienas, skirtas diskutuoti apie potencialius esamų iššūkių apsaugos sprendimus.
LBPA atstovas Kęstutis Garalevičius, kalbėdamas konferencijoje, išsakė gilų susirūpinimą dėl nežinomas bitininkystės ateities ES. Jauniesiems bitininkams kyla iššūkiai, įskaitant didmeninės medaus kainos nuosmukį ir nepakankamas subsidijas. Ypač pabrėžta, kaip tai paveikia jaunųjų profesionalų gyvenimus ir bitininkystės sektoriaus pelningumą.
Be to, problema dėl falsifikuoto medaus įsiveržimo į rinką kelia ne tik iššūkius maisto tiekimui, bet ir ES piliečių sveikatai. Siūlyta imtis priemonių, tokių kaip griežtesnės sienų kontrolės ir efektyvesnio importo tikrinimo, siekiant užtikrinti aukštą medaus kokybę ir apsaugoti rinką nuo suklastoto medaus.
Pabaigoje pabrėžta, jog tai ne tik bitininkų, bet ir visos Europos Sąjungos gerovės klausimas, ir raginta imtis skubių veiksmų. Šis pasiūlymas, kuris apima griežtesnę sienų kontrolę ir kokybės tikrinimą, siekia išsaugoti ne tik bitininkystės sektorių, bet ir užtikrinti ES piliečių sveikatą bei ekosistemų gerovę.
Pilna kalba anglų k.:
Dear Esteemed Colleagues, Members of the European Parliament, and Valued Guests,
On behalf of the vibrant community of young Lithuanian professional beekeepers and the Association of Professional Beekeepers of Lithuania, I stand before you today, deeply concerned about the uncertain and precarious future of beekeeping within the European Union.
In an effort to transcend mere personal anecdotes and opinions, I have engaged in extensive dialogue with members of our association, particularly the young and aspiring professionals who represent the future of our industry. Collectively, we have identified a pressing set of challenges that threaten not only our livelihoods but also the very fabric of our ecosystem.
As for aspiring young beekeepers, the wholesale honey price looms as a formidable obstacle. Honey sales constitute a cornerstone of our financial stability, and the current pricing trends have severely jeopardized our ability to operate sustainably. While the honey market has remained relatively stable compared to the steepinflation plaguing other sectors, this apparent stability masks a stark reality for many beekeepers.
Consider the plight of a fellow young professional who, after selling his honey harvest and fulfilling all financial obligations including taxes and wages, found himself grappling with liquidity issues. To ensure the survival of his colonies through the harsh winter, he was forced to sell essential equipment, compromising his technical capabilities and plunging him into a difficult financial situation.
Moreover, while European subsidies have indeed contributed to the growth of the beekeeping sector, they have failed to attract a significant number of young professionals. This lack of engagement stems primarily from the sector’s low profitability, directly linked to the suppressed wholesale honey price. Investing in state-of-the-art machinery becomes an irrational proposition when beekeepers struggle to cover their basic operating costs. Consequently, subsidies, while a temporary measure to bolster colony numbers, will prove ineffective in the long run unless the profitability of beekeeping operations improves.
The implications of a dwindling beekeeping community extend far beyond the economic well-being of individual beekeepers. The delicate ecosystems that underpin the European Union’s agricultural productivity are poised to bear the brunt of this decline. Honeybees, the primary pollinators maintained by beekeepers, play an indispensable role in ensuring the successful pollination of crops, accounting for 76% of our food supply. Without our (young professional beekeepers’) efforts, the prospects of a sustainable food supply in the European Union are at grave risk. The disruptions to global food supply chains, as vividly demonstrated by the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict, serve as a stark reminder of the perils of neglecting the beekeeping sector.
Furthermore, the unchecked influx of adulterated honey not only distorts the honey market and food supply chain but also poses a direct threat to the health of European Union citizens. Genuine honey is a natural treasure, renowned for its health benefits, and is widely utilized in various health and cosmetics products. However, recent investigations have revealed a disheartening reality – nearly half of the honey samples collected within the European Union were not genuine honey but rather fraudulent imitations.
This pervasive adulteration casts a shadow over the quality of honey consumed by European citizens. We are left speculating about the potential health implications and the production practices employed in these counterfeit products. The consumption of poorly produced honey, devoid of its inherent health benefits, could indeed exacerbate health concerns rather than offer any wellness.
In light of these pressing challenges, the need for immediate action within the European Union’s apiculture industry is undeniable. The well-being of countless individuals, not just beekeepers, hinges on the resolution of these critical issues.
As young professional beekeepers, we have crafted a solution that could revitalize our industry and safeguard the future of our continent.
We advocate for the implementation of stringent border controls to ensure the quality of imported honey. By rigorously enforcing quality parameters, we can simultaneously protect the health of European consumers and bolster the price of honey within the European Union. This proactive approach would effectively curb the influx of cheaper adulterated honey, which distorts market prices and stifles the growth of our industry.Consequently, the possible reduction in the number of pollinators would be eliminated.
Furthermore, we propose a more streamlined approach to border and port inspections. Currently, imported honey is transported in bulk quantities, often in barrels or containers, before being repackaged into individual jars. Implementing quality control measures at the import stage, prior to distribution to supermarkets, would be a more efficient and eco-friendly alternative to the practice of randomly sampling jars from supermarkets across member countries.
In conclusion, when addressing the challenges faced by the beekeeping sector, we must adopt a holistic perspective, recognizing that the fate of beekeepers is inevitably linked to the well-being of the European Union as a whole. The decline of beekeeping not only jeopardizes our food security but also exposes our citizens to the risks of adulterated honey. To avert these issues, we urge the implementation of stricter border controls for imported honey. We firmly believe that proactive measures taken today can safeguard the health and well-being of European citizens.
Thank you for your attention and consideration.