Claudia Quaglierini has been an agronomist for almost 20 years. She holds a Master’s Degree in Agribusiness Marketing and specializes in dialog with external collaboration partners and other stakeholders. Her professional skills, large network and experience are now contributing to bee health in Brazil.
When Bayer invited me to work with the Bee Care Center I could really visualize it as a big opportunity for everyone involved. My first task was to produce a key stakeholder map for Brazil. The goal was to build better relationships to them and implement ideas already set into motion at the Bee Care Centers in Germany and the USA. In the end, it is all about increasing communication and engagement throughout the bee community. Here in Brazil, many beekeepers and researchers are still very skeptical towards agrochemical companies and see them as the main problem in bee health.
At first many researchers were strongly opposed to anything that came from the agro-industrial side. So we really started at the beginning, establishing contact with beekeeping associations and sector organizations. We also participated in beekeeping events and worked on developing a close relationship with all the parties involved and steering the discussion toward a more scientific common ground.
Brazil is a very large country with an amazing diversity in different regions – not only from a biological point of view but also culturally. Because of that, it was necessary to gather all of the stakeholders from the different parts of Brazil to join the same discussion. It was really challenging to get everyone in the same room at the same time but in the end we managed to do it!
Locally we have been developing new scientific studies about bee health together with top Brazilian researchers. Globally, we count on the support and experience of the Bee Care Centers and promote actions and discussions about the bee health topic. Remember, Bayer is one of the few companies in the industry with many people dedicated exclusively to bee health.
The areas we are working on now are bee nutrition, an online pollen catalog, an investigation on bees in melon crops and a study of pollination in canola crops. Many more projects are starting in 2016.
After having worked in the area for the past two years I am totally in love with the bee health topic and everything related to it. Bees are fascinating insects with complex social interactions and they are immensely important for agriculture in general. In Brazil, not many people know a lot about bees. Since we have Africanized bees in Brazil, the insects also have a very bad reputation for being aggressive. So it is an even greater task – but also very rewarding – to convince the public that bees play an important role.
We consider our most important achievement to be the forming of a discussion group. Now, every participant can suggest, express and discuss his opinion about bee health. For the first time, we have all 13 of the most important Brazilian experts in the field working together with Bayer to find possible actions and solutions. This achievement recently culminated in the group’s visit to the Bee Care Center in Germany in April, 2015. There, they had the opportunity to present their collaborations in front of an even broader international audience.
What I really learned from bees and their hives is the importance of teamwork and living in a large, productive community. I now truly understand the saying “Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success”.