Angry beekeepers are sending out an SOS saying that if they do not receive any assistance from the state or the European Union, they will be destroyed.
Due to the drought this year and combined with adverse weather conditions, honey production has fallen by about 50%.
As stated by the president of Beekeepers, Pambos Christodoulou, there is now also a matter of the survival of bee colonies because the current weather conditions are causing severe stress to hives. As a result, these are exhibiting various illnesses, for which drugs are not allowed.
The dry weather conditions have led to increased costs which the beekeepers are called on to cover.
In a meeting recently with the director of the Ministry of Agriculture, beekeepers put on the table the problems they are facing but were not given any assurances that they will receive the help they require during these difficult days in their industry.
"We need to, at least, find a solution for the transportation fuel costs we use in large quantities in an effort to keep our beehives alive.
“In our quest to find flowering areas, we are forced to move our hives constantly over long distances and thus spend large amounts of money on fuel. It is not enough just simply transferring colonies to a distant place because we have to go to see them and care for them," said the president of the beekeepers.
To keep the colonies alive at a time when there is no flowering, beekeepers give sugar to bees, but a ton of sugar costs €750 and at a time of crisis, how many of them have the financial comfort to take on such an expense?
And to make matters worse, approval was given to allow the introduction of honey on the market which comes from the north.
"At the same time, there is a continued uncontrolled import of honey from different countries and so we are now in the eye of the storm, alone and helpless," says Christodoulou.
No help from Veterinary Services
Beekeepers have requested the support of the Veterinary Services but unfortunately, to date, they have only faced closed doors. "There are diseases of bees that only a vet can handle, but every time we raise the matter we are told that they have no vet that is a specialist for bees. This leads to the loss of EU funds, diseases of bees not being effectively treated while beekeepers remain without the relevant and necessary information that will lead to an increased production. And all this because they have no veterinary care...We raised the issue with the Minister himself but nothing has changed," says the president of beekeepers.
According to the Beekeepers Association, a solution to the problem could be given through Apitherapy, which deals with different diseases products produced by the bees have.
The Association submitted a proposal for seminars to train beekeepers in production that will open up new prospects, because apart from the honey and other products will be created such as pollen, royal jelly, bee stings and propolis to be used for medical purposes. “It would create a new category of beekeepers who would not produce quantity but quality. At the same time we would attract medical tourism and the creation of other similar businesses that employ staff for the processing of these products to make them more accessible to the general public. Unfortunately we are not heard, they have not helped us," says Pambos Christodoulou.
Victims and unemployed
In the free areas of Cyprus, there are approximately 600 beekeepers, while the Beekeepers Association educates a large number of young unemployed graduates of various disciplines in beekeeping. All the problems facing the industry, act as an obstacle, even for the dreams of those unemployed who have turned to beekeeping.