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Newsletter Edition - March 2022

  • News from the Chair

    1. As I write this unfortunately northern New South Wales is again being flooded. Hopefully there are no more hives lost this time. One of the articles can be seen at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-03-16/floods-destroy-nsw-beehives-devastating-industry/100910904
      Both the Queensland Beekeepers Association and New South Wales Apiarists Association have been providing their members with information on help that is available. This is the time when membership of your State association will help you.
    2. The Executive have employed an agency to start the recruitment process for a new CEO. Also the AHBIC Council has met and decided to put a review in place to look at AHBIC.
    3. The Brotherhood of Ukrainian Beekeepers wrote to AHBIC, as a member body of Apimondia, and asked us to write to Apimondia requesting that the Apimondia meeting scheduled for Russia later this year be cancelled and that we ask for the Russian National Union of Beekeepers to be excluded from Apimondia.
      AHBIC wrote to the President, Jeff Pettis, asking that the Apimondia scheduled for Russia this year be cancelled and that the Russian National Union of Beekeepers be suspended from Apimondia. You will see in this newsletter the response from Apimondia to our letter and representations made by many other beekeeping groups around the world.
    4. Rod Turner has been a part of Plant Health Australia (PHA) for as long as I can remember. Rod has been involved with us on many projects over the years. Rod is now taking leave and at the end of that leave is retiring. We wish Rod all the best for his retirement and thank him for his contributions over the years.
    5. The planning is now in full swing for this year’s 4th Australian Bee Congress in Sydney from 8-11 June. The website is continually being updated with more information so check often. I hope you have registered. Remember that the earlybird registration closes on 22 April.
    6. Today is the last day to nominate for the Australian Beekeeper Award. Hopefully you have considered this and put in a nomination. See https://honeybee.org.au/shining-the-spotlight-on-australias-beekeepers/
    7. Our acting CEO Danny and I took part in a productive hook-up with the Agricultural Policy Division of the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE). There were several areas identified where industry needs some input and AHBIC is to supply details to DAWE.
  • Note from Acting CEO

    Over the last month we have submitted three government consultation paper submissions, met with DAWE and corresponded with the department on many issues. Issues including the importation of honey, developing new export markets, national security briefing and participated in the launch of the NEXDOC online platform and the National Agricultural Market Intelligence Hub (NAMI HUB).

    Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE)

    AHBIC has been writing to DAWE highlighting the high level of imported honey from NZ and also more recently Malaysia. We have questioned what testing is occurring and raising strong concerns about the extremely low value of the imported honey resulting in speculation around quality. This robust conversation is continuing as AHBIC is pushing for more testing of this imported honey. The newly launched NAMI HUB will be a useful tool in monitoring the importation of honey. The platform allows filtering of a range of parameters and provides some nice info graphics. As we learn how to use this new tool we will share the outputs.

    Round table meetings

    I attended a couple of round table meetings in Canberra with DAWE. The first being a national security briefing and the impacts the geopolitical instability could have on ag industries. The second was around developing Indonesia as a new large export destination. The strong message from the security briefing was that we can no longer rely on China as being the number one export destination and we need to diversify our customers. This lead into Indonesia as being one of the destinations we could diversify into. Some fast facts about Indonesia – 4th most populous country and the third largest economy in the world. Its 270 million population will increase by more than the size of Australia’s population by the end of the decade to over 300 million!! Indonesia already imports significant volumes of honey and there is the opportunity for our industry to develop a strong footprint in that market. More info https://www.dfat.gov.au/publications/trade-and-investment/blueprint-trade-and-investment-indonesia


    The congress organising is well under way. The 4 days will be jammed packed with information and activities. A reminder that early bird registration closes on the 22nd April. We have over 50 speakers confirmed so far and a huge range of trade exhibitors. The Bee Tech Challenge (see advert) will give delegates an insight into what is possible and the trade stands will showcase what is already available for industry.

    Congress Scholarships

    AHBIC has partnered with AgriFutures to make 5 scholarships available for people wanting to attend the congress. The scholarships will provide full registration and a $300 bursary to assist in travel and accommodation expenses. To apply go to: https://honeybee.org.au/scholarship-to-attend-4th-australian-bee-congress-2022/

    Shout out

    A big thank you to the congress organising committee for the boat load of work that has been done so far especially Shona Blair (Chair) and Therese Kershaw (Trade and Sponsorship). The hours Therese has put into the congress is astonishing and I thank her for all the time and effort.

    Scam Alert

    Finally, I have been made aware of a fraudulent email claiming to be from AHBIC and B-Qual circulating. We are getting to the bottom of the issue but be aware it is a scam! Delete if it is not from the AHBIC email.

  • Hear from one of our members

    WA beekeepers are finishing the red gum season and enjoying the cooler weather, which has bought a teaser of rain to start autumn

    There are a couple of internal projects BICWA is currently focusing on. This is the consideration and funding of an interim CEO and the development a Communication and Marketing plan, tight in with the new membership program. We look forward to reporting on these soon – hopefully, all good news.

    We are waiting on the DRAFT monofloral standard definition for Jarrah and Marri, which is getting finalised now and are due for circulation in April. With the CRC for Honey Bee Products closing by the end of this financial year, a few project outcomes and presentations are expected. The most recent presentation, Developing the story for WA honey, is found on our webpage: https://www.bicwa.com.au/research-news-updates

    The Forest Management Plan (FMP) planning group invites BICWA as an industry key stakeholder to provide input in a FOCUS group. These groups are set up to capture feedback for the draft FMP and will include forest health and biodiversity, climate change and the values and use of the south-west forests. Meetings will start at the end of April with a concurrent survey for public comments.

    WA started an investigation into cheap import honey, which recently showed up in one of WAs fruit and veggie markets. The honey testing results and WA import regulation outcomes are expected in early April.

    As you are aware, there is no standard definition for RAW and UNPROCESSED honey in Australia in place. The BICWA board has taken the time to establish a discussion paper for AHBICs consideration. We look forward to playing an active role in this discussion.

    Talk to you next month, and don’t forget to subscribe to our webpage and like us on Facebook.


    Brendon Fewster – BICWA


  • Professional development opportunities


    Ensure you make the most of these informative extensionaus -professional beekeepers resources.


    AgriFutures Company Directors Course applications

    AgriFutures Australia currently has an opportunity open to participate in the Australian Institute of Company Directors CourseTM. Applications open on Monday, 21 March 2022 and close Tuesday, 12 April 2022. More information for Levied Industries https://bit.ly/3qkYWKc

  • Export documentation online

    The NEXDOC portal is a direct means for exporters to apply for export certification, with the department. The portal is accessed through the department’s online services.

    The portal is a free platform offered by the department to obtain your export certification. Once registered your name and address will be included as the exporter/owner on any documents generated for you.

    As of Monday 28 March 2022, honey and apiculture products to Malaysia will also be available on the portal. We will incrementally onboard additional countries and commodities who require export certification.

  • Bee Tech Challenge

    The Bee Tech Challenge is searching for market ready technology which provides solutions to key issues facing the industry including biosecurity, hive health, hive safety, and bushfire protection and preparedness.

    Facilitated by the AgriFutures Honey Bee and Pollination Program, the Bee Tech Challenge is connecting beekeepers with startups, scaleups and innovators to support a brighter future for our bees.

    Participants showcase and pitch their technology to beekeepers and other industry professionals at this year’s 4th Australian Bee Congress in Sydney. Conference delegates along with an assessment panel will have the opportunity to vote for the technology that they see as most relevant and useful for the beekeeping industry.

    Applications are open now, closing at 12 noon (AEST) Wednesday 20 April 2022. 

    Read the T&Cs before you apply.

    More information http://agrifutures.com.au/bee-tech-challenge/

  • Apimondia Oceania update

    The Apimondia Executive Council has held a number of emergency Executive Council Meetings since the Russian invasion of Ukraine with the sole agenda of discussing the developments in Russia given the fact that our 47th Apimondia Congress was scheduled to be hosted in 6 months in Ufa, Russia. The Executive Council unanimously agreed to cancel the 47th Apimondia Congress in Russia given the terrible events the world is witnessing.

    The Executive have now carefully worked through all aspects involved with unwinding such a major complex global event and have now resolved to find a new venue in Europe to allow a congress to continue in 2022 given the fact that the last Apimondia event was held in 2019 (Montreal, Canada).

    The event will now be held in Istanbul Turkey between 24th & 28th August with a theme “Bees Unite the World”. This event will be a hybrid event where some sessions will be live streamed to registered delegates all around the world making the scientific sessions accessible to beekeepers despite the logistical challenges of global travel in the present environment.

    The website is now live and taking registrations: www.apimondia2021.com

    Our thoughts are with Ukrainian Beekeepers

    Many will remember the hospitality of the Ukrainian beekeepers when the congress was held in Kiev in 2013. Apimondia has been in correspondence with our Ukrainian beekeeping friends and we are moving to set up a mechanism to collect donations to support the people and Ukrainian beekeepers. At this stage support can be directed to Bees for Development, a registered charity who Apimondia previously worked with to direct donations to the African region after the big earthquake in Haiti.

    We are also aware that some European beekeepers are registering with their own countries’ governments to welcome Ukrainian refugees in their own homes and farms during these very difficult times.

    Apimondia Congress 2023 – Santiago Chile

    The Apimondia Executive Council continues to work with the Chilean beekeepers and the South American region in planning the 2023 congress in Chile. The local organising team are working to bring together a congress that showcases beekeeping in their region and highlights the unique aspects of their culture, products and beekeeping practices.

    Joint Planning for the global World Bee Day Celebrations

    Global World Bee Day celebrations centre around joint activities between Apimondia and FAO. FAO is a specialised agency of the United Nations whose mission it is to lead international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.

    World Bee Day allows for Apimondia and FAO to work together on the topic of bees and to utilise the networks and strengths of both organisations for the betterment of beekeeping and agriculture worldwide through both FAO’s and Apimondia’s objectives. In past years important declarations and documents have been

    forthcoming from government representatives in attendance. In a virtual world plans will take into account the ability for the event to be live streamed around the world.

    Apimondia / FAO Collaborations – Two Joint Publications:

    How Beekeeping Contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goal

    The Apimondia Executive worked in collaboration with FAO to jointly publish a global summary of how beekeeping contributes to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals with each of the Apimondia Executive acting as contributing authors to the publication. The publication states that “beekeeping is an activity that can have an impact on all the 17 SDGs in consideration of the possibility it offers to improve food production systems from the most subsistence production methods to the highly developed technological advanced systems. It can do so without creating pollution or waste. It has a positive impact on biodiversity. Beekeeping brings people together and Apimondia assists in the global dissemination of knowledge about all 17 goals.”

    I have now received a small number of hard copies of this publication. If any Association in our region wishes to receive a copy for their library or archive, please contact me and I can pass the limited hard copies amongst those who are interested.

    Good Beekeeping Practices for Sustainable Apiculture

    This latest Apimondia FAO collaborative publication is available from https://www.apimondia.org/latest/good-beekeeping-practices-for-sustainable-apiculture. In particular the Apimondia Working Group on Honey Adulteration, along with the wider Executive Council worked extensively with FAO to ensure that the guidelines were consistent with the Apimondia Statement on Honey Fraud and that good beekeeping practices were aligned to produce high-quality safe products from the hive. Many voluntary hours of proofreading, writing and fact checking were contributed by the members of the Apimondia Executive.

    Two other key Apimondia / FAO projects continue
    1. Apimondia are working with FAO to deliver four Biodiversity workshops aimed at linking regional government officials, farmers and beekeeper pollinators. The workshops will be held in Latin America, Ghana, Philippines and North Africa. The objectives of the workshops are to help provide good agricultural practice examples which support biodiversity and pollinator health in agricultural landscapes. This is an example of Apimondia being at the table to provide expert technical information to improve agricultural landscapes for bees and beekeepers.
    2. The second project involves linking a working group from Apimondia with FAO Animal Production Officers through the development of a joint working group on “Monitoring the genetic diversity of managed bees for food and agriculture”. FAO manages a system to monitor the genetic diversity of the main livestock breeds and has recently added bees to this work. This project will slowly begin to monitor the subspecies of bees to better be able to understand bee population trends to assist better decision making globally. It is envisaged that there will be a trial data collection in up to six countries with the view to then rolling out to all countries. Apimondia is assisting the FAO Livestock Officers to work through mechanisms available for data collection options, challenges and opportunities.
    New Apimondia Website

    Apimondia is pleased to now have on board a Communications Officer who has done a splendid job of building a new website and who is now working to support the volunteer efforts that bring newsletters and events to beekeepers globally. Take the time to look at the new Apimondia website when you have a chance.


    Stay safe and well everyone.

    Jodie Goldsworthy – Apimondia Oceania President

  • Friends of AHBIC

    If you aren’t already a Friend of AHBIC, we welcome you to join our group of organisations and individuals who are supporting Australia’s national beekeeping industry that supports you.



  • 2022 AGM and Conference Dates


    New South Wales Apiarists Association 7th June – Rydges Parramatta
    Bee Industry Council of WA TBA (face to face cancelled)
    Queensland Beekeepers Association 23rd-24th June – Warwick RSL
    Victorian Apiarists Association 20th-21st May – Yorke on Lilydale
    South Australian Apiarists Association 31st May – location TBA
    Tasmanian Beekeepers Association 27th-28th – Launceston
    Australian Queen Bee Breeders Association TBA
    Honey Packers and Marketers Association TBA
    National Council of Crop Pollination Associations TBA
    Australian Honey Bee Industry Council 12th June – Nesuto Apartment Hotel – Parramatta



    The following positions are available at this year’s AGM.


    Currently – Trevor Weatherhead (will not be renominating).

    Executive Positions

    – Peter Barnes – eligible to renominate.

    – Ben McKee – eligible to renominate.

    To nominate for Chair the following process applies form the constitution:

    7.7 Nominations of candidates for election as Chair of AHBIC:-

    a. shall be made in writing, signed by one voting delegate and accompanied by the written consent of the candidate.

    b. each nominee may submit a two hundred (200) word statement.

    c. the nomination shall be delivered to the Secretary not less than twenty eight days prior to the date fixed for the holding of the Annual General Meeting. All delegates are to be notified of all nominations at least fourteen days prior to the holding of the Annual General Meeting.

    d. If no nominations are received as required under sub-rules 7.7 (a) and 7.7 (c), nominations shall be taken from the floor at the next Annual General Meeting.