The Bayer Bee Care Center is delighted to announce the launch of Healthy Hives 2020 Latam (Salud Apicola 2020 Latam), a multiyear program it has set up with the Fraunhofer Chile Research Foundation to improve the honey bee health situation in Latin America via research and training. The project will run for four years and considers activities in four countries in Latin America, including Colombia, Argentina and Chile.
On November 21st, more than 100 researchers, agribusiness entrepreneurs, beekeepers and other stakeholders from Chile and Latin America participated in the launch event in Santiago, Chile. A vibrant event, bringing together many bee enthusiasts, filling the room with questions on bees in the broadest sense; from beekeeping practices, the economics of beekeeping, the different facets of honey and many more. Presentations introducing the Healthy Hives 2020 Latam program were followed by a lively panel discussion, in which representatives from Bayer Bee Care, Fraunhofer Chile Research, an Apicultural Technological Development Consortium in Chile, Unicomfacauca, the Technological University Institution of Comfacauca in Colombia and Red Apícola Nacional, the national Chilean Beekeeping Network Association, addressed questions from the audience on the challenges facing honey bee health in Latin America.
Additional meetings, for partners directly involved in the program, followed the main event, including a visit to local beekeepers in the region who are participating in the program on the following day, giving a lot of insight into the local apicultural business and the specific problems they face.
Some of the more than 100 researchers, agribusiness entrepreneurs, officials and beekeepers from Chile and across Latin America who participated in the launch event.
Attending the launch event on behalf of Bayer Bee Care, Dr Christian Maus, Global Lead Scientist Bee Care, explained Bayer’s ongoing commitment to pollinator health, “When it comes to crop pollination, no other individual species is more important to agriculture than the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Therefore, by investing into honey bee research, identifying what factors are influencing their health most and following up with training of beekeepers to optimize apicultural practices, we ultimately support agriculture as well. We want to make a difference with this solid approach across Latin America, forming a link between science and the implementation of practical improvements for beekeeping practices. We are pleased that we have found a competent and valued partner for this in the Fraunhofer Chile Research Foundation.
The event marks the start of further collaborative work on the topic of bee health, strengthening and extending the network of people with an interest in bee health. Whether it be university or industry researchers, beekeepers or authority representatives in Latin America, all have the purpose of sharing experiences and generating knowledge that will allow everyone to address the challenges to bee health from the multifactorial perspective. And it is exactly this that will improve the health of bees moving forward!
Ultimately, we believe the project will help to achieve the quality, safety and traceability demanded by the food market today", explained Marnix Doorn, Project Manager and Business Development Manager of Fraunhofer Chile Research. And, with the world population expected to exceed nine billion people by 2050, the demand for innovative tools and measures to help ensure we all have enough to eat has never been more urgent, as Dr Pilar Parada, Director Executive of the Systems Biotechnology Center of Fraunhofer Chile Research continues, “Working on a scientific basis to improve the health of honey bees, we are making an important contribution to food production, both through pollination and the development of new products from hives.”
The Healthy Hives 2020 Latam program was awarded a Bayer Fellowship Award in 2016, seen by the Award Committee as a particularly innovative initiative to position Bayer science externally. “Seeing such positive resonance at the launch of the event today is really motivating”, Christian Maus concludes.
You can follow the project's progress here.
Also here you can find out more on the launch event.