18 September 2014

 A new project to increase honey production in Wales is urging farmers and landowners to have beehives on their land and so help boost the Welsh honey industry and maybe gain access to farming support.


According to the recently formed Cywain Bee project having beehives on land could not only help the Welsh honey industry, but possibly lead to farmers and landowners achieving additional support through environmental management schemes.


While Welsh honey is much in demand, research commissioned by Conwy Rural partnership as part of *The Bee Co-operative Project - has highlighted the disparity between demand and supply with requests from retailers as far away as London.


 “We know there is an eager market for Welsh honey,” said Cywain Bee Development Manager Haf Wyn Hughes, “and by declaring their hives farmers will not only help honey producers but will help them comply with which could result in additional support for their enterprises.”


The Welsh honey industry is struggling to keep up with demand; a fact highlighted by The Bee Co-operative’s survey of North Wales retailers.

It revealed the “demand for local honey is not being met”, with one beekeeper and honey seller claiming the potential to more than treble his current annual sale of 30,000lb - if more local honey was available.


rn Now the Cywain Bee project has been established to work with farmers, landowners and beekeepers across Wales to increase production by identifying and improving foraging (feeding) sites for bees, as well as providing a mentoring service for honey producers to add value and access new markets.

Over the coming months it will undertake further research from across Wales as well as attending events and shows in conjunction with Farming Connect to highlight to farmers and landowners the importance of creating landscapes and habitats that are favourable to honey production.


 Meanwhile, Cywain Bee is also drawing attention to a wider audience an additional problem facing beekeepers – that of finding suitable sites for the growing number of hives.


 To help resolve the issue the Welsh Beekeepers’ Association has created a widget on its website called ‘Hive Locator’.


rn Its aim is to link up members of the public or organisations with a spare plot of land with a local beekeeper looking for a new site.


“The scheme offers an all-round win-win situation,” said Haf Wyn Hughes.


 “You can add your plot into the system and when a beekeeper in your area is looking for a new site they can get in touch.


“It benefits beekeepers, and farmers and land managers. Also, when you consider that honeybees pollinate one third of all the food we eat, it is something which is important to us all.”

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