The Rural Industries R&D Corporation’s Honey Bee and Pollination R&D Program aims to improve the productivity and profitability of the Australian bee keeping industry through the organisation, funding and management of a research, development and extension program that is both stakeholder and market-focussed.
The Honey Bee and Pollination R&D Program is funded by statutory levies paid by industry participants. The levy is matched dollar for dollar by the Australian Government up to 0.5 per cent of the industry's gross value of production.
Research projects are guided by the Honey Bee and Pollination R&D Advisory Committee.
While honey is the major commercial output of the honey bee industry, there are a number of other products which also add to the income of honey bee businesses. These include production of beeswax, queen and packaged bees and propolis.
Honey bees play a central role in effective pollination of a wide range of crops. Production of commodities such as apples and almonds is completely dependent on pollination by honey bees and in a wide range of other crops honey bee pollination significantly increases product yield and quality.
A number of beekeepers are paid for the provision of pollination services to agricultural producers, and it is expected that this activity will continue to increase in size and importance to the industry.
R&D in this program is conducted to raise awareness that will help protect pollination in Australia.
Funding from Horticulture Australia Limited (HAL) for the Program is from the apple and pear, almond, avocado, cherry, vegetable and summer fruit levies and voluntary contributions from the dried prune and melon industries with matched funds from the Australian government.