Committee Reports::Report No. 32 - Aids to Bee-Keepers' Associations::28 April, 1976::Report


1. Introduction

The Joint Committee has considered the Commission proposal [R/133/76] for a Council Regulation establishing a system of aid to bee-keepers’ associations.

Honey producers throughout the Community have been experiencing difficulties in recent years mainly because of sugar costs, unfavourable weather and damage caused by pesticides and contact chemicals. The proposal is aimed at bringing about structural improvement and better techniques which would make bee-keeping in the Member States more effective.

Of the 3 million hives in the Community it is estimated that 80% belong to bee-keepers who are members of trade associations.

2. Position in Ireland

Consumption of honey in this country is about 800-1,000 tons a year. Home production is between 200-300 tons a year, the balance being imported. There are about 20,000 hives in the country at present. Approximately 60% of bee-keepers are understood to be members of local associations of bee-keepers and these associations are affiliated to the Federation of Irish Bee-Keepers.

3. The Proposed Regulation

The proposal envisages associations of bee-keepers being officially recognised by Member States under certain conditions so that financial assistance can be made available through these associations over a three-year period. No aid would be made directly available to individual bee-keepers. The aid proposed would work out at about 69p per marketing year for each hive producing honey. Over the three-year period the total cost of the scheme in Ireland would be between £15,000 and £20,000. Of this amount 50% would be re-imbursed from EAGGF.

4. Views of Joint Committee

Having regard to our over-reliance on imports, it is manifestly desirable to encourage the production of more honey by home producers. The Joint Committee believes that the present proposals, if adopted, should encourage production and accordingly it unreservedly welcomes the proposals.

The Joint Committee is informed that if the scheme comes into operation, the financial aid would be paid to the Federation of Irish Bee-Keepers. That body has indicated to the Joint Committee some methods bywhich the aid could be utilised to promote the objects of the proposed Directive, viz.,

(a) as a subsidy towards the purchase of feeding sugar—payable through local Association secretaries;

(b) educational purposes (purchase of slides, charts, etc.), and

(c) establishing Association apiaries at local centres for demonstration purposes.

If and when the scheme comes into operation, the Joint Committee trusts that these suggestions will be given favourable consideration. In addition, the Joint Committee would like consideration to be given to the possibility of applying some aid towards disease control at local level and for subsidising the importation of quality queen bees.

5. Acknowledgement

The Joint Committee wishes to express its thanks for the assistance it received from the Federation of Irish Bee-Keepers in considering this proposal.


Chairman of the Joint Committee.

28th April, 1976.