Apiculture New Zealand supports the Minister of Agriculture’s plea for greater unity to address existing challenges around bee welfare and biosecurity, food safety and export regulations, and welcomes the Minister’s commitment to supporting the industry.
This follows a meeting by Apiculture New Zealand with the Minister late last week on the commodity levy results.
“As we advised the Minister a ‘no vote’ for the commodity levy means we do not have the investment funds needed, nor the collective focus that is characteristic of other primary industries in identifying, deciding and actioning priorities,” says Bruce Wills Chair of Apiculture New Zealand.
This lack of collective focus makes it particularly challenging to deal with the known issues that face the beekeeping industry, but also to promote the opportunities, says Mr Wills.
“One of the opportunities we raised with the Minister is how we grow the value of our key native and pastoral monofloral honeys. This has become a priority for beekeepers given the erosion in prices for all honey types other than mānuka.
Mr Wills said the Minister was receptive to looking at how industry and government could work together on identifying the value of other native and pastoral monofloral honeys particularly in relation to supporting regional and Māori economic development.
The critical building blocks for protecting the term mānuka and potentially other native monofloral honeys like rewarewa and kamahi through Certification Trademarks and Geographic Indicators were already underway and are supported by Apiculture New Zealand.
Apiculture New Zealand’s Board meets next month to discuss next steps and has already signalled its willingness to work with the wider industry to find common ground and look at what types of initiatives are needed to secure a strong and united future for the industry.
“While it is on all our shoulders to protect and grow the value of industry, the Minister’s decision to take these further steps to help industry and call for unity is a very strong signal to all stakeholders, both in optimism for the future but for urgency to act now,” says Mr Wills.