¿The challenge confronting Chile’s new apicultural NGO is monumental. The problem: the world’s bee population is declining by more than a third every year.
And if you aren’t concerned by this statistic, you should be. More than 60 percent of the food consumed by humans on the planet comes about as a direct result of the humble bee, which plays a vital role in pollinating plants and bringing about the next crop.
No less than Albert Einstein is reported as saying: «If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.»
Disease, changing climate patterns, deforestation, pesticides and other effects of industrialized agriculture are having such a devastating effect on global bee populations that scientific predictions indicate that the bee is at risk of being wiped off the face of the Earth within the next decade.
One Chilean company, Rejipro, has spent years working with local universities and government agencies to help bolster the country’s declining bee populations.
The company, which is fair trade certified, was instrumental in the introduction of technology for the preparation of propolis, as well as techniques to help move the industry – comprised of 70 percent micro-producers – towards sustainable apiculture.
«Although half of the profits of the last five years have been distributed toward food and medicine, the bees are still declining,” said Rejipro Director Antonio Vuletin. “Drought and the persistent use of obsolete techniques or inadequate remedies, among other factors, have continued to kill them, making our efforts inadequate. So we decided to reorient our efforts through a non-governmental organization, which we have christened ‘Plan Bee.’”
Still in its early phase, Plan Bee has already undertaken various initiatives, in collaboration with 12 engineers, agronomists and communicators, toward developing supplementary foods and medication for the bees, training apiculturists, replanting native fauna, developing new biopesticides and raising awareness the importance of their campaign.
For more information (in Spanish) see Plan Bee’s official website.