There has been a lot of negative reaction to the idea of a honey industry levy. Unfortunately, beekeepers have been a little short-sighted in their knee-jerk reaction to this levy. Although we all hate the idea of paying money out, there are times when it can work for our long-term good.
The money thus raised would be invested in areas such as:
- bee health,
- best beekeeping practice,
- market access issues.
We would all agree that these areas can do with more input. There is no doubt that the industry has serious issues with problems such as hive overpopulation, manuka branding, and protection against new diseases from outside NZ.
Other primary industries have levies to promote and provide support. Nobody likes handing over money but if ApiNZ doesn’t look after this, then someone else will have to.
There is a lot more regulation needed in the industry to ensure cowboy beekeepers and unregistered hives are prosecuted. This will become even more necessary as people drop out of beekeeping due to the unprofitable seasons we have had and some just walk away from their hives. The long-term effect of this could be disastrous if we don’t have proper systems in place to control and prevent the spread of disease from neglected hives.
All this takes money unfortunately and consequently raises the need for a honey industry levy. If we are wanting New Zealand beekeeping to grow and prosper we are all going to need to work together to promote and protect this wonderful ecologically necessary industry.