Page last updated at 10:20 GMT, Saturday, 23 May 2009 11:20 UK

More money to fight bee decline

Honey bees at a hive in the UK
The money will help to address gaps in knowledge about beekeeping

Nearly half a million pounds of funding to protect honeybees has been announced by the Welsh Assembly Government.

The £486,000 will go to the National Bee Unit (NBU), which works to protect the honeybee in Wales and England.

The Agriculture Minister, Elin Jones, said the funding would work to address "the decline of honeybees and work to maintain healthy stocks".

The British Beekeepers' Association says the bee population dropped by 30% between 2007 and 2008.

The minister said the money would help to address gaps in knowledge about beekeeping.

"Honeybees contribute directly to local food production, which is key to the environmentally sustainable farming we are promoting in Wales.

"Their importance to the agricultural industry therefore cannot be underestimated," she said.

The assembly government said the Welsh funding to the NBU was roughly twice last year's figure, and would help to find and make contact with beekeepers not already on the database.

The NBU aims to protect the honeybee, through inspections, research and training for beekeepers.

Up to £10m of funding for research into the decline of pollinators, such as bees and butterflies was announced by the UK government in April.

In March, the assembly government and the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs together launched 'Healthy Bees'.

The plan aims to achieve a "sustainable and healthy" bee population for pollination and honey production.



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