BC agriculture minister Lana Popham had a honey of a gift for beekeepers at their semi-annual meeting and education day on March 20.
Popham announced $100,000 in funding for the first year of a technology transfer program, something the BC Honey Producers Association has been seeking for years. BC is the last province in Canada to develop such a program.
“Wonderful news,” says association president Heather Higo. “It will be amazing to get the technology transfer program off the ground.”
The funding comes at the end of the government’s fiscal year, which ended March 31. A second year of funding was not promised.
Programs in other provinces have typically received start-up funding from government, followed by contributions from industry and research partners for ongoing activities. BC’s start-up funding will support hiring a team lead, the first step in getting the program up and running.
Popham also announced the creation of an industry specialist position for the bee industry similar to positions for cattle, vegetables, tree fruits and grapes. The specialist will be a liaison between industry and government. The position is in addition to that of provincial apiculturist Paul van Westendorp and the provincial apiary inspectors whose main focus is regulatory through the provincial bee regulation and Animal Health Act.