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A national comprehensive approach to bee health


April 23, 2014
By Fruit & Vegetable

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The necessity to take a comprehensive look at the various factors impacting bee health in Canada brought together a diverse group of stakeholders at a recent Bee Health Workshop in Ottawa.

“Bees are critical to both our economy and our ecosystem,” said Rod Scarlett, Bee Health Workshop chair and executive director of the Canadian Honey Council. “That is why beekeepers, farmers, agronomists, scientists, government and other partners are working on this together. We know if we develop a national and inclusive approach, everyone will be better off. If we can’t work together, everyone will lose something because so much is at stake.”

The national workshop held this week was the next step in ensuring all parties with a stake in bee health can collaborate on solutions. Participants included beekeeper groups, grain, horticulture and organic farm groups, chemical and seed industry representatives, federal and provincial governments and bee health experts.

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The need and opportunities for Canada’s beekeepers are expected to continue to grow and this group of stakeholders is committed to working together to find positive outcomes for pollinator health as well as agricultural production.

“Bees are an important part of agriculture,” said William Van Tassel, workshop attendee and first vice-president of la Fédération des producteurs de cultures commerciales du Québec. “Grain farmers are pleased with this opportunity to work with beekeepers, scientific experts and governments to promote the health of bees. A commitment to a coordinated, comprehensive national focus on honey bee health is the right approach.”

The group has agreed to continue to meet in a collaborative manner.

Participants included: Canadian Honey Council, Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists, Grain Growers of Canada, Canadian Horticultural Council, Canadian Organic Growers, Alberta Beekeepers Commission, Canadian Seed Trade Association. la Fédération des producteurs de cultures commerciales du Québec, Grain Farmers of Ontario, CropLife Canada, Fédération des apiculteurs du Québec, Canadian Seed Growers Association, Association of Equipment Manufacturers, Canola Council of Canada, Ontario Apple Growers, Oxford Frozen Foods Ltd, BC Blueberry Council, federal government representatives from Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency and Ag and Ag Food Canada, plus provincial government representatives from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and the North West Territories.