National Apiculture Programmes
EU support for beekeeping is provided through the national apiculture programmes.
Under the Single CMO Regulation the EU provides support for improving the general conditions for the production and marketing of apiculture products in the EU through national apiculture programmes.
Commission Regulation (EC) No 917/2004 sets out the detailed implementing rules for the apiculture programmes.
Each Member State can access the EU aid scheme by drawing up a three-year period apiculture programme.
50% of a Member State’s expenditure for the national apiculture programmes is reimbursed by the European Commission.
For the present tri-annual programme (2011-2013) EU contribution to the beekeeping sector is EUR 32 million a year.
The national apiculture programmes are drawn up every three years.
The priority measures that may be included in the programmes are:
Technical assistance to beekeepers and groupings of beekeepers
Technical assistance is designed to enhance the efficiency of production and marketing by introducing better techniques. Courses and other training measures for beekeepers and those responsible for groupings or cooperatives relate in particular to such areas as breeding and disease prevention, collection and packaging, storage and transport of honey and marketing.
Control of varroasis
The aim of varroasis prevention is to reduce expenditure incurred in treating hives or to ensure that part of the cost is met. This disease is caused by a parasite and, at the present time, is severely diminishing the honey yield in the EU, leading to the loss of bee colonies if not treated. As varroasis cannot be completely eradicated, the only way to avoid its consequences is to treat hives with approved products (those that do not leave any residue in the honey). A financial contribution was also considered necessary to ensure that beekeepers do not treat hives with unauthorised chemicals or ineffective remedies.
Rationalisation of transhumance
Aid for the rationalisation of transhumance is intended to assist with managing the movement of hives in the Community and with providing locations for the strong concentration of beekeepers during the flowering season. Transhumance management can be facilitated by such measures as a transhumance register, investment in equipment and maps of honey varieties.
Measures to support laboratories carrying out analyses of the physico-chemical properties of honey
Support measures for carrying out analyses of honey are intended to improve the marketing of honey. Financing of analyses of the physico-chemical properties of honey according to its botanical origin provides beekeepers with precise knowledge of the quality of the honey harvested, and enables them to get a higher price for their product.
Measures to support the restocking of hives in the Community
The restocking of hives makes it possible to compensate for losses of bees, and therefore of production, by funding activities to promote queen production or purchasing of bee colonies.
Cooperation with specialised bodies for the implementation of applied research programmes in the field of beekeeping and apiculture products
The opportunity provided by the Regulation for including specific applied research projects for improving honey quality in the honey programmes, and dissemination of the results of such projects, can help to increase producer incomes in particular regions.
Notification and monitoring
In order to access the direct aid financed by the EAGF budget for apiculture and to support these measures, Member States must notify their tri-annual apiculture programme to the Commission by 15 April of the first year of the three years period applied by the programme.
The national programmes shall:
- describe the situation in the sector;
- state the aim of the programme;
- describe the measures and specify the costs of implementing them;
- state the estimated costs and financing plan broken down yearly at national and regional level;
- mention the applicable laws, regulations and administrative provisions;
- state the organisations and bee-keeping cooperatives that the Member State collaborated with in drawing up the programme;
- set up the monitoring and assessment arrangements of the apiculture programme.
Besides the apiculture programmes, Member States must also forward to the Commission documents specifying how the programmes are to be monitored in order to verify compliance with the terms on which the national aid is granted.
According to Article 184(2) of the Single CMO Regulation Commission presents to the European Parliament and to the Council, a report on the implementation of the apiculture programmes in Member States every three years.
Current apiculture programmes in Member States 2011-2013
At present, beekeeping is a sector of great interest for the European Union both for the products which it provides but also for its contribution in maintaining an environmental balance.
In supporting the production and marketing of honey the EU provides € 32 million for the current tri-annual apiculture programme (2011-2013), co-financing the priority measures designed to improve the beekeeping sector in Member States.
Future apiculture programmes in Member States 2014-2016
In the spirit of the new EU Biodiversity Strategy the Commission will continue to apply sustainable policies for the development of the beekeeping sector due to the environmental service performed by honeybees through pollination.
Beekeeping is playing an important role in the sustainable development of rural areas and will continue to benefit from the CAP after 2013.
In order to improve and ensure the efficiency of the apiculture programmes a close collaboration with the beekeeping sector at European and national level will be maintained.
Apiculture programmes for 2014-2016 in all 28 Member States, co-funded by the EU, were approved in the Management Committee on 18 July 2013.