Monday, June 30, 2008

Honey Bees Blamed for Higher Food Costs

honey bee colony collapse disorderThe humble honey bee is the latest reason for higher food costs. At least according to farmers, businessmen and the media.

Food prices could rise even more unless the recent decline in honey bees is stopped.

The decline phenomenon, called Colony Collapse Disorder, was featured in recent Congressional hearings.

North Carolina farmer Robert Edwards told a House Agriculture subcommittee (.doc) last week that he had to reduce his cucumber acreage in half because of the lack of bees available to rent. Edwards grows cucumbers for the commercial pickle industry.
"And as I tell my non-farmer friends, these bees are out there pollinating more than my cucumbers, they are critical for the growth of virtually everything in our food chain; because everything in this chain eats something that has been pollinated, or ate something else that was pollinated by a honey bee."

Congress is looking into the impact of the reduce honey bee population due to its impact on the food supply and food costs.
"If there are no bees, there is no way for our nation's farmers to continue to grow the high quality, nutritious foods our country relies on," said Democratic Rep. Dennis Cardoza of California, chairman of the horticulture and organic agriculture panel.
The House Appropriations Committee approved $780,000 last week for additional research on Colony Collapse Disorder and $10 million for bee research. Final funding will require approval by both the House and Senate.

Source: House Agriculture Committee

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