As a local NGO dedicated to relocating bee colonies out of urban areas raised concerns of starving bees, a number of people have turned their attention towards the bee situation on the Maltese Islands.
Local council candidate Sean Gauci quoted Albert Eistein, who once said that the human race would not survive for four years after bees go extinct. Another person quipped that bees would have more than enough flowers if there was one at every petrol station, making reference to the raging debate that has led up to yesterday’s publication of an updated fuel station policy.
However, PN MEP candidate Peter Agius reached out and told Lovin Malta exactly how difficult it has become for local beekeepers to work effectively with the funding they’re given
According to an EU Law which Agius claims was designed to suit the conditions in France and Poland, eligible beekeepers are given €125.95 per hive per year to support bee communities.
This comes with the condition that each box be moved to a different piece of agricultural land three times a year, for each of the three honey seasons in Malta.
This is where the issue sets in
While other EU countries have ample agricultural land to relocate these boxes, the Maltese Islands are quite limited in this sector, especially with the rise of urbanisation is recent years.
Since bees can travel an average of five kilometres, even with a limit of five boxes per hive, the boxes can still cover Malta and Gozo’s pollination needs “10 times over”. According to Aguis, this means that most beekeepers are ineligible for this subsidy.
How can this be rectified?
Agius argues that the EU law in question needs to be “adapted to our particular situation”, saying that “we must constantly adapt Union to Malta if we want to see its benefits trickling down to society”.
This could give local beekeepers the required funding to effectively pollinate our plants, produce honey, and, of course, feed our own indigenous species of honey bee, creatively called the Maltese Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera Rutneri). Because yes, we apparently have our own species of honey bee.