The survival of the humble bee is a priority for the Western Cape government and the Western Cape Bee Industry Association.
Besides for the honey that bees give us, the honeybee is as important to agriculture as water, land and air.
The Western Cape Department of Agriculture - working with bee associations in the province - has released a new strategy aimed at ensuring the sustainability of the bee population in the province.
Facts about local honeybees:
According to the South African National Biodiversity Institute, more than 50 different crops in South Africa are reliant on insect pollination.
In the Western Cape, 50% of commercial bee keepers’ revenue currently comes from pollination services with the remaining 50% coming from the production of honey and other bee related products.
The National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries currently lists 130 000 managed colonies of bees and 1800 beekeepers on their records.
About 70 000 of these colonies are based in the Western Cape (however, the numbers are thought to be much larger, because of unregistered colonies and bee keepers).
The bee industry has identified several problems affecting bees, among them insufficient forage, theft and vandalism, disease, environmental hazards such as pollution and exposure to external factors such as fires and drought.
The aims of this new strategy are:
Ensuring sustainable bee forage
Research and innovation
Developing a regulatory framework
Transformation in the industry
Governance and stakeholders
The full report about the bee poopulation in the Western Cape can be downloaded here