French honey at risk as dying bees put industry in danger

Across the country, French beekeepers are sounding the alarm and say the first part of the season has been 'catastrophic'. 

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The collapse of honeybee colonies due to climate change and the use of insecticides threatens to ruin another year of French honey harvests, French beekeepers warned on Tuesday, reports FRANCE 24.

Across the country, French beekeepers are sounding the alarm: their bees are dying, and their honey is in danger.

“Bees are collecting nothing!" said French farming union MODEF (Family Farmers' Defence Movement) on Tuesday. “The first part of the season has been catastrophic,” Robert Aigoin, MODEF's president, told FRANCE 24. “Consumers will need to watch out, it’s going to be very difficult to find French honey this year,” Aigoin warned.

Dismal French honey harvests are unfortunately nothing new. Back in 2017, headlines warned of “catastrophic” harvests, one year after France’s lowest ever honey production season. In 2016 the country produced just 9,000 of their usual 18,000 to 20,000 tons of honey.

France is the fifth largest producer of honey in the European Union. Other European beekeeping hubs such as Spain, Romania, Poland, Hungary, Greece, and Italy have all experienced fluctuations in the amount of honey they produce.

France and Hungary were the only two EU countries to experience a sharp drop in honey production between 2017 and 2018, each of about 5,000 tonnes. But according to the European Commission, France, Romania, and Greece all reported having fewer hives last year than they did three or four years ago.

“It’s not only France,” Henri Clément, secretary-general for the National Union of French Beekeepers (UNAF) told FRANCE 24. “My friend is a beekeeper in Italy who told me that in 43 years of professional beekeeping, this is the worst year he’s ever had.”

Read more of this report from FRANCE 24.

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