Logroño, (EFE) quality and prices sink.
It was announced this Thursday by representatives of the UAGR, which is part of the COAG, which this week has started mobilizations in different autonomous communities to denounce the critical situation that the beekeeping sector is going through and demand support measures.
The UAGR livestock spokesperson and member of the organization’s Permanent Commission, Carmen Carrillo, has described the situation in the sector as “critical” and has indicated that beekeepers are likely to take to the streets as a protest measure, as well as that they have already done in other regions.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, corresponding to 2021, provided by the UAGR, on that date there were 472 registered beekeepers, 177 transhumants, 32,161 hives and 1,495 settlements.
Regarding production, in 2020 the production of honey in La Rioja, according to data from the Ministry, reached 348 tons, compared to 229 in 2021.
The person in charge of the beekeeping sector of the UAGR, Simón Ezquerro, has explained that the sector feels “a bit forgotten” about the aid from the Ministry of Agriculture and the regional government, compared to what is granted to other livestock subsectors, especially with the increase in costs derived from the crisis in Ukraine.
Added to this is a year in which the drought has considerably reduced the honey harvest.
The reality of La Rioja beekeeping does not differ from that of Spain as a whole, where between January and November 2022 the packaging industries imported 35,260 tons of honey, which is 3,633 tons more than what was imported in all of 2021 and 3,009 more than in all of 2017.
While this is happening, he has detailed, native honey is overflowing in warehouses, due to the general blockade of commercial operations by the industry.
They are supplied with low-quality honey from third countries and triangulated through European countries, sinking prices and placing them at levels below production costs.
Vanesa Díez, a veterinarian from the UAGR, has specified that, until last year, the largest imports of honey came from China, and its origin appeared on the label.
However, lately “we think” that part of the honey is imported from third countries, but when mixing it with honey from Europe, there is no obligation to specify the origin on the label, except that it comes from the EU.
The quality of this honey is much lower than the native one, with which, in addition, unfair competition is exercised towards native beekeepers, the veterinarian has detailed.
Given all these elements, the beekeeping sector of the UAGR-COAG calls on the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to pressure the Ministry of Agriculture and the Government of Spain to grant direct aid per hive to the professional beekeeping sector.
It also claims that the professional beekeeping sector be included among the sectors to which the aid of 20 cents per liter of diesel is extended in 2023, since in professional beekeeping farms, both shelves and transhumant, fuel is one of the costs of production that conditions the income statement, Ezauerro has reported.
In the field of marketing, the UAGR also demands that the Ministry take advantage of the upcoming Spanish presidency of the Council of the EU to lead, at a European level, the modification of the thousand directive and the food code of the Union, so that the true origin of the honey marketed in Spain is correctly reflected on the labelling.
For beekeepers, the current situation of paralysis and blockade of honey produced at source in Spain is an unfair practice, which they understand cannot become, de facto, a structural threat in each beekeeping campaign.EFE