BEEKEEPERS struggling in the wake of drought and bushfires will benefit from a $1 million emergency package announced by the Queensland government.
The package will fund waiving permit fees for accessing state forests and protected areas for the year, and provide free access to a stockpile of bee feed sugar.
Queensland's honey production was down 30 per cent last year and could drop to 70 per cent. Production is expected to remain low for the foreseeable future, despite recent rains.
Agriculture Minister, Mark Furner, said as well as producing honey, the beekeeping industry provided vital pollination services critical to Queensland's broader horticulture industry.
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"Queensland's horticulture is very dependent on having a thriving and viable honey bee sector," Mr Furner said.
"Worker bees are our farmers' great friends, pollinating crops worth hundreds of millions of dollars across the state.
"Avocados, macadamias, blueberries, melons, and almonds are just a few of the large commercial crops that depend on bee pollination to ensure a marketable crop.
There are 79,000 commercial hives in Queensland and 45,000 are used for pollination.
The bee feed sugar stockpile will be distributed to Queensland beekeepers in need from Hive & Wellness' Richlands headquarters in outer western Brisbane.
Hive & Wellness chief operating officer, Ben McKee, welcomed the assistance and said it came at a time of great need.
"This critical package will support Queensland beekeepers and their bees until the bushland recovers and can properly sustain hives again, leading to a return to regular honey production and pollination services," Dr McKee said.
This announcement will provide direct and immediate financial relief to our hardworking Queensland beekeepers.
"It is great to see the Queensland Government showing leadership and investing in the state's beekeeping and agricultural future.
"We are grateful for the time they have spent engaging with us and the Queensland Beekeepers Association to understand the issues and the kind of help required."
Queensland Beekeepers Association state secretary, Jo Martin, applauded the support package.
"This announcement will provide direct and immediate financial relief to our hardworking Queensland beekeepers," Ms Martin said.
"These site fee waivers will ensure the security of beekeeping sites, which beekeepers use as a healthy haven between pollination services."