Mediterranean Beekeepers Observatory
The global challenges that food producers and products have been facing in the last decades make even more meaningful the enhancement of value on the market of those competitive advantages related to the belonging of producers and products to the Mediterranean area.
APIMED since its foundation in 2011 foresaw this possibility for beekeeping, as Federation associating beekeepers and associations of beekeepers coming from countries of the Mediterranean area and neighbors of it. The mission of the Federation have been focused since the beginning on the interests of Mediterranean beekeepers and beekeeping, with the assumption that those categories refer to beekeepers and beekeeping sharing in common some strong characteristics but also very different in terms of rules, traditions and levels of development.
How to investigate and synthetize advantageously the richness of differences between the members has been for long the object of broad discussion in the Federation. In 2014 APIMED participating into the project "Mediterranean CooBEEration" got the tool ad hoc to start the investigation, in fact in the lists of the project activities there was also the constitution of an Observatory on Mediterranean beekeeping.
The collection of data, that the Observatory will conduct, will have the scope to reach a better understanding of the sector, and on the other hand it won't question the different qualitative and quantitative levels that beekeeping of different member countries register.
The Observatory will adopt a point of observation related to the geographical area in which it is located and not to the single countries, which already have national observatories. The objective that the collection of data wants to achieve initially will be to align the beekeepers of each country to two common values connotative of the Federation: the methods and the processes of production have to enhance the value of the local products that are natural and traditional; the common development of technical, scientific, cultural and also professional tools can constitute a protection of the quality of Mediterranean products against other types of productions that follow different rules and traditions.
The construction of a descriptive framework becomes the prerequisite for the possible proposal of common actions, and these days the federation is moving the first steps in this direction. The first tool picked for gathering the data of the observatory is a questionnaire, translated into four different languages (French, English, Arabic and Italian), that involves directly beekeepers, organizations or institutions of intermediate level, universities, and technicians related to beekeeping, and researchers of all the countries members. The answers and their processing will provide for the first contribute to the creation of a framework of data for future activities.
The Observatory – as the project "Mediterranean CooBEEration" – acquire also the wider role of contributing to the support of biodiversity and quality of food of our planet, that are strictly connected to the promotion and the support of beekeeping and beekeepers. In the last decades the growing of intensive agriculture at a global level brought to an increasing use of pesticides, reduction of genetic variety of the cultivated species, and the degradation of natural habitats. But many types of fruit, legumes, vegetables and crops depend on pollination, and bees represent the group of pollinators that is predominant and economically more important for many geographical areas. The pollination – and the support to bees that perform it – is therefore vital to maintain ecosystems and their biodiversity, and for the production of food for the entire world.
The Observatory, finally, will provide for some useful information also for the better definition of the target and the campaign "CooBEEration, " that will begin in autumn, and that will support the spread of the milestones of the project "Mediterranean CooBEEration. "