New beekeeping rules, which have been put to public consultation, are detrimental to beekeepers and bees, and if they are adopted, many honey farms will have to close down, a round table discussion on beekeeping, organized by the Most party, heard on Tuesday.
If adopted in the proposed form, the new rules will result in the closing of many honey farms because they are not in a position to relocate, said beekeeper Sasa Boric from Vrbovsko.
He noted that 70% of the existing apiaries in the Istria region would be closed because more and more holiday houses were being built there.
There has been a significant increase in the number of newly-built villas with swimming pools, which additionally reduces the space required for beekeeping, with owners of those properties saying that they have been finding bees in their pools, Boric said, adding that the proposed rules needed to be revised to prevent the collapse of beekeeping.
Beekeeper Ivica Fajdetic of Rijeka said the new rules put beekeeping commissioners in an unfavourable position. So far they have performed most of their duties using their own cars and funding, hoping that the new rules will improve their status, but they provide for no such changes, he said.
Beekeeping commissioners are given additional tasks and obligations, without any compensation or legal protection, he said, adding that problems are bound to occur in cases of disputes with beekeepers who do not comply with the rules.
Beekeeper Ivan Mravak of Split-Dalmatia County said rural tourism was increasingly developing.
“My neighbour is in the tourism business, he has built a swimming pool. I have been keeping bees for 40 years, he has built a pool and now I will have to relocate my bees. I wonder where to? Mount Velebit…?” he said, calling for scrapping the proposed rules and making new ones.
Speaking at the round table, Mato Cacic of the Agriculture Ministry said that the budget of the new national beekeeping programme was increased from 14 million kuna to 28 million kuna, and a 1.2 million kuna aid programme was adopted to help beekeepers overcome the consequences of honeybee deaths this year.
The new rules have been put to public consultation until 20 August, and all constructive proposals will be accepted, he said, adding that ministry officials will meet with beekeepers on 19 August.
Cacic said that the ministry aims to establish rules that are better than the existing ones, and that new rules should benefit both beekeepers and the rest of citizens.
The proposed rules establish, among other things, how bees should be kept and transported, and regulate beekeepers’ training, the minimum distance between beehives and between beehives and other objects, bee pastures, collection of data on beehives that have been prepared for winter, etc.
They also regulate the collection of data on honey production, production costs and honey prices, as well as bee protection.