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9 January 2002
A project to help beekeepers adapt to an environment with the additional challenges
imposed by varroa has been allocated a $291,000 grant from the Ministry of Agriculture and
Forestry's Sustainable Farming Fund.
This is a separate project to the $7.3-million one funded by Central Government to
develop the two year interim varroa management program and the longer term management
plan. These projects are tightly targeted to deal with technical issues to do with varroa.
MAF Sustainable Farming Fund Manager Kevin Steel says the overall goal of this latest
project is to help beekeepers strengthen their businesses by using an expanded range of
income streams so they can survive and prosper to continue to provide the pollination
services that underpin New Zealand agriculture.
"Current estimate costs to treat Varroa will be in the region of $40 to $50 per
hive annually. The goal of this project is to assist beekeepers to develop income streams
to meet this cost over the 300,000 commercially managed beehives in New Zealand."
"Those hives are in the hands of approximately 700 beekeepers. There is a need to
generate an additional $12-million in those beekeepers hands. The major barriers to going
forward are a lack of confidence and skills to tackle the unknown."
The project, co-ordinated and delivered through the National Beekeepers Association of
New Zealand, will include the identification and evaluation of new business options such
as propolis, bee venom and disposable pollination boxes as well as liaising with other
agricultural and horticultural sectors.
For more information contact:
Lin McKenzie, National Beekeepers Association of
New Zealand, Tel. 027-435-7970 or Sheri Cochrane, MAF Sustainable Farming Fund, Tel.
04-460-8783. More information on the Sustainable Farming Fund is available on www.maf.govt.nz/sff