A new Apiary Taskforce has been formed to drive further economic opportunities for the state's bee industry, with a further 20,000 hives required to meet pollination demand in the SA almond industry.
The Apiary Taskforce is made up of representatives from the Apiary Alliance SA, SA Apiarists Association, ForestrySA, SA Water, Department for Environment and Water and Primary Industries and Regions SA.
Primary Industries and Regional Development Minister Tim Whetstone said the taskforce would take an economic approach to growing the bee industry in SA.
"The Taskforce will discuss future opportunities to strengthen the bee industry in SA and support growth for the state's horticulture industries," he said.
"Honey production contributes about $11 million to the SA economy but the value of pollination services is $1.7 billion."
Mr Whetstone said pollinating agricultural and horticultural crops was the most significant role our bee industry plays and exploring opportunities to increase access for pollination is critical.
"A key focus for this taskforce will be determining how new beekeeping sites can be identified, assessed for suitability, and managed," he said.
"Increasing pollination capacity will ensure a healthy bee industry and healthy agricultural and horticultural industries into the future."
Apiary Alliance SA chair Danny Le Feuvre said the apiary industry played an important role in SA's agricultural and horticultural industries.
"Ensuring beekeepers have the tools to maintain healthy honeybees will ensure our industry has the capacity to provide pollination services," Mr Le Feuvre said.
"As a honeybee industry we provide pollination services to numerous crops including almonds, apples, cherries, avocados, berries, small seeds and some broadacre crops.
"With the growing pollination pressure on the honeybee industry it's critical we create additional high quality refuge sites where bees can build strength before pollination events, and recover post pollination."
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