Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

June 29, 2011 07:55 ET

Government of Canada Investing in a Honey Bee Breeding and Management Program

SARNIA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - June 29, 2011) - The Government of Canada is helping the beekeeping industry develop new strategies to respond to a decline in honey bee colony populations. Member of Parliament Patricia Davidson (Sarnia-Lambton) announced today on behalf of Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz an investment of more than $244,000 to the Ontario Beekeepers' Association.

"Ensuring a more profitable and sustainable future for the bee industry will benefit farmers, industry, and the ecosystem," MP Davidson said. "This project will help farmers and the entire industry increase profitability and find ways to improve breeding while developing good management practices."

The project aims to help beekeepers secure sustainable honey harvests and provide essential pollination services to the fruit and vegetable industry.

"The partnership formed between the AAC, and Ontario Beekeepers Association will ensure beekeepers are able to manage genetics, pests and nutrition according to their business objectives," said Les Eccles, OBA Tech Transfer Program Lead Specialist. "Providing management strategies specific to the beekeepers goals will give more sustainable and consistent results."

"The funding provided through AAC will greatly advance OBA's efforts to ensure the beekeeping industry has quality and consistent honey bee stocks," said Jim Rickard, AAC Chair. "Bees are the major pollinator of food crops and it is critical that beekeepers have access to the technology they need to maintain healthy bee colonies."

Over the past four years, beekeepers in Ontario have been losing high numbers of honey bee colonies due to disease, pest resistance to treatment methods, and increased demand on honey bee colonies to provide pollination services.

Led by the universities of Guelph and Manitoba, the program will develop a breeding program that will result in honey bees that have the ability to resist pests and diseases. It will also screen new products for pest and disease control and develop best management practices relating to pollination colonies. Beekeepers in the province of Ontario have identified these issues as priorities for the industry.

Ultimately, the project will provide beekeepers with the ability to have better control of colony genetics and health in order to have consistent honey production and pollination services.

Funding for this project is being provided by the Canadian Agricultural Adaptation Program (CAAP). In Ontario, CAAP is delivered by the Agricultural Adaptation Council (AAC).

CAAP is a five-year (2009-2014), $163-million national initiative that aims to help the Canadian agricultural sector adapt and remain competitive. Eligible CAAP projects could be in areas of traceability, environment, climate change, capacity development, pests and diseases, and more.

The Next Phase of Canada's Economic Action Plan, coupled with other Government of Canada programs and initiatives such as CAAP, continues to help farmers by focusing on creating jobs and strengthening the economy. Investments in new and emerging market opportunities will help build an even stronger agriculture industry and Canadian economy for the future.

For more information on CAAP, please visit www.agr.gc.ca/caap.

To learn more about AAC, please visit www.adaptcouncil.org.

Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
    Ottawa, Ontario
    613-773-7972
    1-866-345-7972

    Meagan Murdoch
    Director of Communications
    The Office of the Honourable Gerry Ritz
    613-773-1059

    Nadine Armstrong
    Agricultural Adaptation Council
    519-822-7554