The importance of honeybees to agriculture and thus to human survival is well known. Nevertheless, the honeybee as a species is in danger of extinction. In order to encourage organic beekeeping and contribute to saving the honeybee, IFOAM – Organics International has established an Apiculture Forum.

The new forum pools the interests and experiences of beekeepers, traditional honey collectors, farmers, civil society and other organizations involved with bees and organic beekeeping. Its establishment is the result of a joint initiative by IFOAM – Organics International, Naturland (Association of Organic Agriculture), FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture), Coopsol (an Argentinian beekeeping co-operative), ECOSUR (a Mexican research institute for sustainable development), Demeter (Association for bio-dynamic agriculture) and Apicon (a beekeeping consultancy).

World Conference: Supports National Organic Beekeeping Activities The first major task for the forum will be the organization of the World Conference on Organic Beekeeping. It will be held between 6th and 10th September, 2016, in Argentina.

In the words of Manfred Fürst, co-ordinator of the IFOAM Apiculture Forum, “Argentina is one of the world’s leading producers of GMO crops, so we shall obviously have to deal with the problems caused by genetic contamination. We will though also focus on the contribution which organic beekeeping makes to rural areas and I am confident that this will galvanize the organic movement in Argentina”.

Putting organic beekeeping on the international agenda The main aim of the IFOAM Apiculture Forum is to advance the development of organic beekeeping and to encourage the traditional practices employed by sustainable beekeeping. The tasks to be tackled are many and various. One of them is to expand the current organic beekeeping standards, which so far have concentrated on quality aspects of honey and other beekeeping produce, to give added weight to the species-appropriate needs of bees. At a time when beekeepers the world over are suffering from the severe depletion of their bee colonies, the forum also sees its job as a lobby and platform designed to raise awareness of the need to combat practices that damage the environment and are harmful to bees and, last but not least, to guarantee beekeepers a sustainable source of income.