The recruiting activities of beekeepers in northeastern Germany have been praised after it emerged that the number of beekeepers in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania has risen by 25 per cent within five years.
Dr Till Backhaus – who is the state’s social democratic Minister for Agriculture – called the development “very pleasant” and acknowledged the recruiting efforts of the region’s beekeepers.
Dr Backhaus said: “We currently register 3,200 beekeepers in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. They are managing 30,000 colonies.”
The number of colonies increased by 18 per cent since 2017 while the number of apiarists even rose by 25 per cent, according to Dr Backhaus who has served as agriculture minister since 1998.
An estimated 1,000 tonnes of honey – most of it deriving from rapeseed – are harvested in the northeastern state each year.
Dr Backhaus called the production of honey a “side effect” and identified the pollinating activities of honeybees as their “true value.”
The minister pledged to support the implementation of further measures to support honeybees and other pollinators such as the numerous solitary bee species. Germany is home to more than 500 different types of bees.
According to Dr Backhaus, the regional government would focus on turning arable land into organic pastures. Encouraging local agricultural firms to withdraw from monocultural farming has been identified as another key aspect of the ministry’s agenda for the coming years.
The Federal Association of Beekeepers in Germany has more than 137,000 members.
Overall, an estimated 170,000 residents of the Central European country engage in beekeeping. Last year, they were in charge of 982,000 hives.
These numbers helped Germany to come 8th in the European Commission’s 2021 apiculture statistics. Spain – where almost three million hives were registered – took first place ahead of Romania (2.4mn) and Greece (2.2mn).