Romanian beekeepers request the authorities to grant aid to compensate for the losses, considering that the extreme weather phenomena affected more than half of the honey production, and the lack of financial resources, the decrease in consumption and the massive imports of honey generated serious problems in the sector, informs Agerpres .
“In recent years, honey productions have been modest, somewhere below half of the average annual production, and this year is the same: it does not exceed 48-50% of the average production. We cannot sell this either because the prices of purchase are very small, and honey imports from Ukraine and other non-EU countries are killing us. We are also stuck with the honeydew we have in stock and we have no money to prepare the bee families for the winter. The lack of own funds and the lack of financial support from on the part of the Government have determined in the winter and spring the loss of bee families between 30-40% of the flock in certain areas”, the president of the Association of Beekeepers of Romania (ACA), Ioan Fetea, told AGERPRES.
Ioan Fetea, the president of ACA, stated that last year a problem that had not been seen in 50 years in Romanian beekeeping appeared, namely the lack of requests for honey for export, but also the decrease in domestic honey consumption.
“I saw that the “Honey in Schools” program will not be accessed from January 1, 2024 either, being postponed for the 17th consecutive year, although Romania is at the bottom of the European ranking regarding honey consumption per capita. This year , although it is a weak one, with a production of between 12,000-14,000 tons of honey, neither the export works nor the honey is sold domestically. The fantastic consumption has decreased everywhere in Europe. Colac over pupăză, the Romanian says, we bring honey from import and you saw that the European Union also recognized that almost 48-50% is fake. We bring honey from Ukraine and ours, which is valuable, we don’t even give it to children, because we don’t want to give the honey to schools. It’s strange that we can no longer export, and this is a situation unprecedented in 50 years in Romanian beekeeping”, warned Fetea.
In this context, ACA requests the granting of a de minimis aid of 15-20 euros per bee family in order to recover from losses, especially since last year, even though the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MADR) had a support in the budget for the beekeeping sector, it was not granted.
“We had deaths last winter, we had a drought this year, and now the bee families are weak. The beekeeping activity ended a long time ago and from now until the winter we have to give food out of the bag, otherwise all this involves expenses that exceed 150-200 lei/family per bee, i.e. around 50 euros/family, which is a lot. There are many professionals who are no longer able to survive. All these problems cause a decrease in the interest of beekeepers in this job, including the young ones, and, to the extent that the Government, through the Ministry of Agriculture, will not find a support solution for the sector, the situation will become more and more dramatic. We have always asked for a minimis between 15 and 20 euros per bee family, but if you give 5 lei, 10 lei, it’s two to three kilograms of food for the winter, it’s important that we could still recover something from the hole made this year and last year”, emphasized the head of the ACA.
Currently, at national level there are 2.35 million bee families and over 35,000 – 37,000 beekeepers are registered.
A few days ago, the president of the Association of Beekeepers from Romania requested a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, Florin Barbu, to inform him about the serious problems in beekeeping and to find some forms of financial support so that the additional expenses incurred by beekeepers in the last years for keeping bee families alive to be covered. Moreover, such information was also sent to the Prime Minister of Romania.
“We were told that they are thinking about granting a de minimis aid and another form of support for beekeepers, but we keep thinking about this sector for 5, 10 years and still do nothing. I saw that the Minister of Agriculture signed the temporary authorizations for the treatment of seeds with neonicotinoids for autumn crops, but we were not even asked for an opinion. At least other ministers called us for a friendly discussion to tell us that there were requests from the plant sector and asked us what measures they could be taken, and now I found out from the press. There is a lack of dialogue with the beekeeping sector and I don’t know why, because we have always had an honorable and professional behavior. I repeat, the lack of dialogue, the fact that honey cannot be sold, the prices are very low , cost prices that have increased by 30-40% and no financial aid, these would be our problems. They keep saying that there are funds through the National Beekeeping Program (PNA), but only about 25% of the beekeepers, and the remaining 75% we sit and wait for the divinity to help us and mother nature. That’s why I requested a meeting with the Minister of Agriculture, to analyze these problems, to avoid collapse and find real solutions in beekeeping”, explained Ioan Fetea.
Domestic consumption of honey is estimated at 550 grams per inhabitant. Romania is at the bottom of the European ranking.
Last but not least, the representative of the beekeepers added that, if the package of fiscal measures that recently appeared in the public space is approved, it could affect more than half of this sector.
“Half of us are PFA and half are natural persons. Of course it also affects us as an association, because we have commercial companies, we have over 40 commercial companies that are in the category of micro-enterprises, or if they put us at 3% income tax , it is terror. We have to close half of the country and they will no longer have points of purchase, sales, supply, not only beekeepers, but also the products of the stock will no longer be valued. How to change the Fiscal Code now when the financial year is still another three or four months? The man made a budget and now it’s messed up,” added the ACA president.
According to statistical data, domestic honey consumption is estimated at 550 grams per inhabitant, but Romania is at the bottom of the European ranking, given that Romanians consume 3-4 times less honey compared to the two kilograms consumed in Germany or 1 .5 kilograms in the Netherlands and Belgium. Romanians consume 70 grams of sugar and only 3 grams of honey every day.
Editor : M.I.