Coldiretti: “The result is that various types of monoflora honey are disappearing”
Puglia had to say goodbye to over 1 jar of honey out of 2, with 60% less harvest conditioned by drought, persistent heat with unseasonal temperatures even in autumn, but also due to climate instability with torrential rains and events extremes that hit Puglia in May and June. This is what emerges from the first estimates by Coldiretti Puglia for the 2023 harvest which risks being among the poorest of the decade crushed by extreme events resulting from the progressive tropicalization of the climate.
If the lack of rain – adds Coldiretti Puglia – allowed regular collection flights by the bees, the high temperatures and the lack of water with early flowering forced the beekeepers to leave earlier for the hilly areas and to bring emergency rations and water in the hives. The harvests of the first part of the summer, especially in July, suffered in particular from the heat waves.
The result is that various types of monofloral honey characterized by biodiversity are disappearing, such as the acacia, which among other things recorded a very high level of approval at an international level, and the orange. Wildflowers are now heavily dependent on spontaneous blooms, which are increasingly sparse and difficult for bees to find.
In Puglia there are 1070 beekeeping companies that take care of 32,000 hives and 13,000 swarms, which produce – insists Coldiretti Puglia – numerous types of honey, from refined almonds to citrus fruits, from clementines to rosemary to thyme, up to cornflower, on the eucalyptus, coriander, clover and wildflower, with a significant growth in the presence of women and young people running beekeeping businesses.
The difficulties of bees – underlines Coldiretti Puglia – are a serious danger for biodiversity considering that domestic and wild bees are responsible for 70% of the reproduction of all plant species, are an indicator of the state of health of the environment and serve to farmers work with flower pollination. In fact – continues Coldiretti – as many as 3 out of 4 food crops depend to a certain extent for yield and quality on pollination by bees, among these there are apples, pears, strawberries, cherries, watermelons and melons according to the FAO . The irreplaceable role played by this insect is confirmed by Albert Einstein who claimed that: “if the bee disappeared from the face of the earth, man would only have four years to live”.
A heritage put at risk by imports from abroad which in the first seven months of 2023 have already reached 13.6 million kilos, much more than half of all the honey produced last year in Italy. To avoid bringing to the table products from abroad, often of low quality, it is necessary – advises Coldiretti – to carefully check the origin on the label or to contact the producers directly on the farms, in the agritourisms or in the markets of Campagna Amica.
The honey produced on the national territory, where GMO crops are not allowed unlike what happens for example in China, is recognizable through the mandatory origin labeling strongly supported by Coldiretti. The word Italy must be present by law on packages of honey collected entirely on the national territory (e.g. Italian honey) while in the case in which the honey comes from more than one country in the European Union, the label – continues Coldiretti – must report the the indication “mixture of honey originating from the EU” indicating the name of the countries (for example, if it comes from Italy and Hungary the jar must say Italy, Hungary); if instead it comes from non-EU countries it must be written “mixture of honeys not originating in the EU” with the name of the countries, while if it is a mix it must be written “mixture of honeys originating and not originating in the EU”, also here with the indication of the names of the countries.
Through the direct purchase of honey from Apulian beekeepers – Coldiretti highlights – we support the protection of the territory and the presence of an important sentinel of the quality of the environment and biodiversity such as the bee. In fact, in addition to the production of honey – concludes Coldiretti – bees play a fundamental role in the pollination of many wild plants and the main herbaceous and tree crops.