Slovenia marks World Bee Day for third time

Several events were held on Wednesday in Slovenia as the world celebrated “World Bee Day” for the third time.

This year’s theme is “Bee Engaged” with a specific focus on bee production and good practices adopted by beekeepers to support their livelihoods and deliver good quality products.

The day’s events included a “Bee Engaged” online conference, which was organized by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in collaboration with the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations (Apimondia) and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and supported by the Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food.

Slovenia’s Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, and Food Aleksandra Pivec told the online conference that “This year the COVID-19 pandemic crossed our plans, but it also made us aware of how important safe, stable and sustainable food chains and systems are for people and the planet, and for which bees and other pollinators are vital.”

The Beekeeping Academy of Slovenia also held an online seminar dedicated to urban beekeeping, which attracted some 200 participants from more than 20 countries.

The Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association met for an assembly, which was addressed by the association’s President Bostjan Noc, Minister Pivec and Dejan Zidan, who as agriculture minister headed Slovenia’s initiative to declare May 20 World Bee Day.

In line with the day’s “Bee Engaged” motto, Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, took action to help the bee population in the city flourish. It announced on Wednesday that several greens and meadows will be mowed less frequently to provide food for solitary bees. The city has set up nest boxes in three locations, and continues to encourage its residents to install beehives on their roofs.

The number of beekeepers and beehives in Slovenia is rising, standing at 11,350 and 205,000, respectively. They produced 1,746 tons of honey in 2018. The amount of honey produced annually is fluctuating depending on the weather, the latest figures released by the Statistics Office show.

Slovenia exports both honey and bees. In 2019, it exported almost 332 tons of honey, while honey exports have increased eightfold over the past ten years.

In the European Union (EU), there are 650,000 beekeepers and 17.5 million beehives. The EU produced 280,000 tons of honey in 2018. Beekeeping is practiced in all EU member states and the Union is the world’s second largest honey producer, according to the European Commission.