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High quality bee products are important to agriculture: why, and what needs to be done

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Title: High quality bee products are important to agriculture: why, and what needs to be done
Author: Kevan, Peter G.; Eisikowitch, Dan; Kinuthia, Wanja; Martin, Peter; Mussen, E C; Partap, Uma; Taylor, O R; Thomas, Vernon G.; Thorp, R.W.; Vergara, Carlos H; Winter, Kimberly
Abstract: It is well recognized that honeybees are major players in agricultural productivity through their roles in crop pollination, and are economically valuable for hive products (mostly honey), but the indirect link between honey quality and agricultural productivity is seldom voiced. Honey is a valued and revered part of human diets. It is not just a sweetener, but also has special places in culture, religion, and medicine. The value of honey rests in its reputation for purity and that value is of paramount importance to the beekeeping industry and associated value added enterprises in packing, marketing, advertising, wholesale and retail sales. If the reputation of honey as a healthy component of human diet is eroded, then the beekeeping industry becomes jeopardized. Contamination of honey by pesticide (or antibiotic) residues from applications to crops or directly to colonies of honeybees, or adulteration of honey by unscrupulous commercial interests, detracts from honey’s repute. Similarly, concerns for contamination with GMO(Genetically Modified Organisms) in the form of pollen are frequently raised (see literature review on the web; reference below). One would expect the market for honey to be adversely affected if honey’s reputation were eroded. Honey regarded as inferior in quality commands lower prices in the international market. If the market for honey were to decline, and the price to drop, there would be serious consequences to crop production in general resulting from deterioration of beekeeping as an agricultural endeavour and the consequent abandoning of the activity by beekeepers. Having spelled out the generalities in the interconnectedness between honey quality and agricultural productivity, what are the specifics within the area of pollination that relate to government and industry policies on honey purity? This report provides a short summary of the facets of pollination and beekeeping that apply, with recommendations of the stands that need to be taken to protect and assure honey quality for the sake of adequate pollinator forces for agriculture.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/2419
Date: 2006-11-21
Citation: Kevan, P. G., Eisikowitch, D., Kinuthia, W., Martin, P., Mussen, E. C., Partap, U., Taylor, O.R., Thomas, V. G., Thorp, R.W., Vergara, C. H., Winter, K. "High quality bee products are important to agriculture: why, and what needs to be done." Journal of Apicultural Research 46.1 (2007): 59-64


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