Happy new year! Hopefully this year will be filled with greater honey prospects than the last!
On behalf of our Chair and the board we welcome Bianca Giggins to the newly created Varroa Coordinator role. Bianca is a valuable addition to the AHBIC team and will assist AHBIC in all things Varroa and communications moving forward. We are thankful to the Federal Department for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry for providing assistance in funding the new role.
Despite having a short Christmas break it has still been a busy month. The Varroa response continues to consume a lot of AHBIC’s time with the daily briefings and AHBIC having an active functional role as Industry Liaison Officer. Participation and negotiations for the CCEPP and NMG meetings just prior to Christmas resulted in agreement to continue the response funding with the next decision point being March/April. The response is in a strong position with national recognition of Blue Zone Freedom giving the industry confidence that eradication is possible. States are gradually reducing the restrictions for cross-border movements giving desperate beekeepers some business continuity again.
As directed at our last AGM we have finally been able to start working on getting the many subcommittees established and moving.
The levies committee met late last year with more meetings scheduled to work on a range of levy related issues including investigating a marketing levy and pollination levy. The imported honey committee is being established and will meet in February to work on a strategic plan to combat imported honey. The AHBIC review committee is also being established to look at ways to implement the recommendations of the Ball report and make further recommendations to the executive to improving the sustainability of AHBIC. The established subcommittees including the education, resources and biosecurity will all have meetings scheduled for the first half of the year.
AHBIC strategic plan
The AHBIC strategic plan comes to an end in 2023 and the executive are meeting in late February to workshop the skeleton of a new strategic plan. The workshop should provide a first draft that we can take to industry for input before finalising.
We continue to test imported honey from Australian shelves looking for adulteration. If testing results identify adulteration AHBIC then pursues this with the authorities to have it removed.
Early in 2022 AHBIC was made aware of a large hardware chain selling beehive equipment online. This equipment included pre-wax plastic foundation. AHBIC has been in communication with the hardware chain requesting testing results of the wax and highlighted the biosecurity regulations in shipping honey bee products around Australia. As a result, the hardware chain has since removed the product for sale.
The year ahead
I look forward to the year ahead and to strengthen our partnerships and continuing to build a strong and resilient honey bee industry. As an industry, we have had everything thrown at us over the last few years, hopefully we as an industry can have a more prosperous year in 2023.