BEE KEEPERS INFORMATION
BEE FARMERS ASSOCIATION
The Bee Farmers’ Association is the voice of professional beekeeping in the United Kingdom (UK). As the commercial trade association for the sector, it represents around 450 bee farming businesses. Its members produce honey throughout the UK and supply products in bulk, for wholesale and for retail. In addition, the association provides contract pollination services to growers.
WHAT IS BEE FARMING?
Bee farmers aim to run profitable business enterprises based on the management of stocks of honey bees. Businesses in the United Kingdom (UK) vary in scale from part-time concerns providing an additional income stream from self-employment to large-scale operations employing a dozen or more staff all year round. To be sustainable, a bee farming business needs to ensure its honey bee stocks are well-managed to ensure the bees are kept in optimum condition, healthy and disease-free. Good husbandry, as in all livestock farming, is essential. High standards of health and welfare of honey bee stocks are essential to ensure business models are sustainable. Income is generated from the sale of products (eg, honey, beeswax, added-value products) and the provision of services (eg, pollination, training). Increasingly, innovative business models are being developed to exploit market opportunities. The UK produces around 14 per cent of the honey consumed by the domestic market. This compares with a European average of around 60 per cent. The challenge (and opportunity) for the bee farming industry is to increase UK honey production and availability.