EU support to the apiculture sector has had a positive impact on the production and marketing of honey, says an external evaluation report just published by the European Commission.
The report also concludes that the EU support to apiculture (€ 120 million between 2007 and 2011, complemented by a further € 120 million from Member States) addressed the needs of the EU apiculture sector.
The external evaluation recommends that the six measures which can currently be co-funded under the scheme should be maintained.
The two most widely supported of those measures aim to prevent varroasis (a parasite weakening bees' immune system) and provide technical assistance to beekeepers.
In 2013/2014 the EU and its Member States will spend a total of € 66.2 million (half as EU support and half as national co-funding) on national apiculture programmes to improve the production and marketing of honey.
The EU is the second honey producer in the world, with some 600 000 beekeepers, and the pollination provided by honeybees is essential.
Decreasing bee mortality and maintaining a high quality honey production in the EU are among the main challenges faced by the sector.