Beekeeping and agriculture could benefit even more from each other
Sadly, farming in bees rarely looks that beautiful. Photo: Unsplash / Oscar Nord
Far beyond honey production, beekeeping benefits nature and agriculture. The actual economic importance as well as the regional structure and spreading of the honey bee attitude in Germany analyzed agro economists in a research project.
As a result, bees already bring great economic benefits. The individual beekeeper could, however, achieve a higher income with targeted pollination services.
According to the study, the economic output of beekeeping in Germany amounts to approximately 1.7 billion euros annually. With their pollination work, the insects are estimated to generate around 1.6 billion euros per year. This figure is thirteen times higher than the added value of honey and beeswax production, which is around 120 million euros.
Without insect pollination, the yields generated in cultivation would be 41 percent lower on average, but with large deviations, because different cultures are more or less dependent on insect pollination.
While apples, pears, cherries or plums produce on average 65 percent more yield when their flowers are pollinated by insects, oilseed rape, sunflower, soy or field beans account for 25 percent and vegetables average 42 percent. Depending on the type of vegetables, this value varies between five percent for beans, peppers and tomatoes and 95 percent for pumpkins and zucchini.
In order to achieve optimal pollination in the production fruit grower and vegetable growing, it is necessary from the perspective of the researchers to reward targeted pollination services with fair premiums. In addition, beekeepers and farmers should exchange more intensively, either privately or through municipal associations. Only in the future can a balance be achieved between bee and crop protection. In many cases, beekeepers also migrate with their honeybees out of fear of pesticides; In particular, financial incentives in the form of higher earnings speak in favor of migration among working people. Many hike over large distances within Germany and even to Italy or France.
Taking Baden-Württemberg as an example, it is evident that there are more men than women in the core, with the proportion of women growing. Many of them have joined a beekeeping association only in recent years, mostly in middle age.
It is striking that beekeepers and bee colonies are concentrated near cities. However, urban beekeepers tend to have fewer bee colonies than their rural counterparts. Nonetheless, bee colonies are still lacking in Baden-Württemberg to optimally pollinate intensively managed orchards and vegetable cultivation areas.