Dr. Mayda Verde, who has contributed with suggestions to the drafting of Beekeeping Laws in Cuba, Chile and Colombia, gives her vision on aspects that cannot be missing in these legal bodies to promote and protect the activity.
The importance of beekeeping leads to the need to protect this productive activity and the honey bees, leading provinces, regions and entire countries to create beekeeping legislations.
Three of the four countries where the Bee Health 2020 project is working are aware of this. While Chile and Colombia are currently preparing draft beekeeping laws, the Argentine province of Santa Fe has just passed its law on “Promotion, Production and Development of Beekeeping Activity” (see box).
Dr. Mayda Verde, principal investigator of Salud Apícola 2020 LatAm, has contributed suggestions to the draft laws of Chile and Colombia, making contributions based on the extensive experience of Cuba in this area, a country that has laws and regulations protecting beekeeping and melliferous resources since the 1970s.
A law for the protection of beekeeping “should promote and contemplate exclusively the aspects that concern the development of a modern beekeeping, based on the intensive management of honey bees (Apis mellifera), so that it becomes a sustainable activity as a productive agricultural line”, emphasizes Dr. Verde, who for more than 30 years directed the sanitary strategy of Cuba as the main doctor of the Veterinary Service of the Cuban Beekeeping Company, today APICUBA.
The specialist also stresses that “any law that aims to regulate the development of an activity involving animals must focus on all those aspects that ensure the welfare and health of the animal, preserving its physical integrity”.
Based on her experience, Dr. Mayda Verde gives here ten recommendations to be taken into account when drafting a Beekeeping Law with a view to the country:
- Consider that all the content allows the role of Apis mellifera in the ecosystems to be fulfilled, as a natural pollinator and dynamizer of the productive processes in agriculture.
- Contribute to food security.
- Ensure that beekeeping products obtained from the activity are suitable for human or animal consumption, and that they are of quality, safe and traceable.
- Establish mechanisms to encourage and promote public policies that promote the development of the sector and bee populations, in dynamic balance with the ecosystems in which they are inserted. To this end, maintain an updated inventory of beekeepers, apiaries and hives, so that health and environmental management can be carried out at the territorial level.
- To protect the welfare of populations and individuals, to encourage the expression of their productive potential according to the race, species and indicators set for each category and territory.
- Establish guidelines to promote diversified beekeeping production with added value, marketable both in the domestic market and for export.
- To contribute with legal instruments to the diversification of the sector’s own activities, establishing mechanisms that help generate profitable income for the actors in the chain and encourage the creation of jobs associated with beekeeping in rural areas.
- Promoting research both in the field of beekeeping activity and in other fields of science that cut across beekeeping: medicine, pharmacology, biology, botany, economics, geography, food industry, robotics, etc.
- Contemplate measures that contribute to and stimulate the training of human capital on a scientific basis, under certified standards, promoting the gradual professionalization of the beekeeping sector.
- To establish, from its articles and statements, starting points that will lead to the elaboration of Decrees, Rules, Regulations, Circulars or other legal provisions of lesser rank or scope, but necessary to complement, implement and/or execute the aspects contained in the Law.
Santa Fe Beekeeping Law
After a work process that started in 2016, since November 19th, the Argentine province of Santa Fe has a Law for the Promotion, Protection and Development of the Beekeeping Activity and its regulatory decree. The norm, sanctioned in December 2018 by the Legislature, had the participation of the bases of beekeeping producers, local governments and legislators.
The law highlights the formulation for the first time of a Provincial Fund for Impulse, Stimulation and Promotion of the Beekeeping Activity, whose resources will come from items allocated to the Ministry of Production, among other sources.
Read the column where Leonel Perez Raymonda, coordinator of the project Beekeeping Health 2020 Argentina, gives his opinion on the new law.
Improving beekeeping with an integrated vision.