Ben McKee, Chief Operating Officer of Hive + Wellness Australia who packs the Capilano brand, said the Government’s decision to provide supplementary feed and to waive apiary site fees would offer valuable assistance to the “forgotten farmers” of Queensland during the worst conditions in memory.
Dr McKee said:
“We welcome this assistance package from the Queensland Government. It comes at a time of great need for these family-run businesses, whose priority is nursing their bees through the debilitating effects of drought and bushfire.”
“Right now, beekeepers are focussed on the health of their bees over and above honey production or pollination. They are in maintenance mode, employing supplementary feeding as a last resort, as 90% of local bushland is either drought-stressed or burnt.”
“This critical package will support Queensland beekeepers and their bees until the bushland recovers and can properly sustain hives again, leading to a return to regular honey production and pollination services.”
Dr McKee said supplementary feeding was extremely costly and, without subsidy, threatened the viability of beekeeping businesses.
“We already have a skills shortage in the beekeeping sector, and don’t want to see a mass exodus from the industry as a result of the drought and fires. We have to support these important farmers to do what they love. We will all benefit as a result.
It is great to see the Queensland government showing leadership and investing in the state’s beekeeping and agricultural future. We are grateful for the time they have spent engaging with us and the Queensland Beekeepers’ Association to understand the issues and the kind of help required.”
Dr McKee reminded professional beekeepers in need of support that they could access additional assistance through the Hive Aid campaign, managed by Rural Aid and overseen peak industry body, the Australian Honey Bee Industry Council. Professional beekeepers seeking assistance are encouraged to register here.