May 20 is World Bee Day

bee foraging almond blossoms

The International Day to respect the bees.

Mostly we ignore the international world days. But a day for the bees? Yes, time to celebrate. Time to bring out the Ethiopian honey beer. Or brew some honey ale like they do in the White House. Time to check if that honey in your cupboard is real or fake.

It’s impossible to understate the importance of bees. Like fruit bats – thousands of which were gunned down by unknown assailants in Lebanon  – they are pollinators that ensure human survival. And since they are fond of flowering plants, bees are often found in the world’s most beautiful places.

A wide variety of plants critical to human well-being and livelihoods require pollinators. In fact, three out of four crops across the globe producing fruits or seeds for human consumption depend, at least in part, on bees and other pollinators.

However, today these tiny food heroes are declining in alarming numbers largely due to intensive farming practices, excessive use of agricultural chemicals and higher temperatures associated with climate change.

In addition, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has had a drastic impact on the beekeeping sector affecting the production, the market and as a consequence, the livelihoods of beekeepers.

Beekeeping offers decent working opportunities and income generation to people in extreme poverty, including women, youth and even disabled people. It is important to recognize its crucial role in fighting poverty and malnutrition, and help beekeepers overcome the challenges they encounter in the time of pandemic.

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Beekeeping in Turkey

This year’s theme “Bee Engaged” will shed light on good practices adopted by beekeepers to support their livelihoods and deliver good quality products. It will also highlight the importance of traditional knowledge related to beekeeping, the use of bee-derived products and services, and the role of bees and beekeepers in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On the occasion of the third observance of World Bee Day, on 20 May 2020, FAO, in partnership with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS), the Permanent Representation of Slovenia and Apimondia, will hold a virtual celebration.

The event will be webcast here at noon, Rome time.

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