Spain promotes sweetening breakfast with honey on World Bee Day | Cover | Andalusia Edition

This Friday marks World Bee Day for the fifth time, vital insects for biodiversity, agricultural production and beekeeping; Spain has three million beehives and the sector, together with the packers, seeks that honey sweetens the breakfast of adults and children.

Changes in land use, intensive agricultural practices, monocultures and pesticides have fragmented and degraded the habitats of pollinating insects, among which bees stand out, regret from the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of United Nations.

According to the environmental organization Greenpeace, more than 40% of invertebrate pollinators, in particular bees and butterflies, and 16% of vertebrates, are threatened.

The FAO established May 20 as World Bee Day in 2018, since this calendar date coincides with the birth of Slovenian Anton Janša, the pioneer of modern beekeeping.

“Without bees we would not have food or ecosystems,” Mario Navarro, president of the Spanish Beekeepers Association (AEA), told Efeagro.

Your association celebrates throughout this weekend in the municipality of Pampaneira, in the heart of Granada’s Alpujarra, the I Beekeeping and Gastronomy Fair, which in its program includes presentations on the environment and beekeeping, a market for the direct sale of honey and a contest of the Ruta de la Tapa con Miel.

Also, the celebration of the first “Breakfast with Honey” among the students of the local public school, a “pioneering initiative” in the country that will be attended by the Slovenian ambassador to Spain, Robert Krmelj, and that the AEA wants to extend in the future to the entire network of Spanish schools.

“It is an initiative that has been carried out for years in Slovenian schools and that since 2018 the European Union (EU) has encouraged to spread throughout all the community countries,” says Navarro.

The Association of Honey Merchants (Asemiel-Ainimpa) is also committed to promoting the consumption of this ancient and natural product to sweeten family breakfasts through the campaign with European funds “Mielenials”.

CONSUMPTION STATUS AT 0.8 KILOS PER PERSON PER YEAR

According to their data, honey consumption in Spain remains stagnant at just over 0.8 kilos per person per year, compared to 2.6 kilos per capita in Germany, the country that heads the list in the EU.

Spain, as explained to Efeagro by Asemiel’s general secretary, Rebeca Vázquez, is a powerhouse in honey production and its single-flower varieties are highly valued “star products” inside and outside its borders.

Among them, he has given as examples rosemary honey, orange blossom honey, avocado honey or dark varieties, such as eucalyptus, chestnut or heather, “each of them with a flavor and color with a lot of personality”.

QUALITY STANDARD

In June 2020, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPA) approved the new quality regulations for honey, which for the beekeepers’ association is “insufficient to stop consumer deception”, since it requires inserting in the labeling of honey containers the countries of origin, but without the percentage of each item.

The packers, for their part, have highlighted that since its entry into force there has been a change in the sources of supply and now the questionable Chinese honey has ceased to appear on many labels of multifloral mixtures, largely because “the consumer Spanish rejects the word China” when you see it on the label.

INTANGIBLE HERITAGE OF HUMANITY

World Bee Day has also been this year the date on which the Coordinator of Farmers and Ranchers Organizations (COAG) has chosen to propose that beekeeping be declared Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

Those responsible for the beekeeping sector of this agricultural association will deliver today at the headquarters of the Spanish Ministry of Culture 110,000 signatures as the first step in a process that wants to have as its purpose the approval of this declaration by UNESCO.

“Beekeeping is an essential ancient trade for our natural and agricultural ecosystems and is in a limit situation”, COAG sources have advanced, who have recalled that 76% of food production and 84% of plant species They depend on pollination by bees.