A new Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) led by The University of Western Australia (UWA) will provide a much-needed boost to Australia’s valuable, but largely untapped honey bee products, by bringing together both industry and academic expertise from across Australia.
Dr Liz Barbour, from UWA’s Office of Research Enterprise, said the CRC for Honey Bee Products would resolve current industry problems that limited the value and expansion of the industry. Products include honey, beeswax, pollen, royal jelly, venom and honey bee export.
“At present, honey bee product value is estimated at $125 million,” Dr Barbour said. “What is often overlooked is that 44 of our food crops wholly or in part rely on honey bee pollination which adds an additional farm gate value of $6.5 billion. With the new Australian focus of fine food export, healthy bees are an essential ingredient for success.”
“Australia, especially Western Australia, has one of the healthiest honey bee populations in the world so no antibiotics or chemicals from bee husbandry contaminate the products. Whilst Australia is surrounded by bee diseases, through our quarantine ef- forts, the worst (including the sucking mite, Varroa) have not yet reached our shores.”
Bee disease is a big threat to Australia’s agricultural production.