To ease your site search, article categories are at bottom of page.

May 06, 2009

Bee disease threatens South African fruit exports

Hundreds of thousands of South African bees are at risk from a disease sweeping through hives and posing a threat to fruit and vegetable farming in the country, an industry expert has said.

The only way to rid bee populations of American Foul Brood disease is by burning the infected hives. However, as the only country to avoid the disease for the past 150 years, South Africa has no quarantine regulations for insects.

"It is extremely serious because it is a very contagious disease ... not only for honey but for agriculture. We need to use bees for pollinating fruit trees and vegetable crops," said John Moodie, chairman of the Bee Industry Organisation.

The exceptionally contagious spore-forming bacterium, never before seen in sub-Saharan Africa, has broken out in the southern tip of the Western Cape province.

Some 200 hives are known to be infected already, with about 60,000 bees per hive, and the industry is awaiting assistance from the agricultural department to start burning hives.

"New laws have to be promulgated, it's taking too much time. We need logistical inputs, money. Every day creates a bigger problem," Moodie said, warning the disease could spread throughout southern Africa. "We need those regulations so we can start taking action."

The Western Cape's key fruit export industry relies on between 30,000 and 40,000 beehives to pollinate their fruit trees.

It is suspected the disease entered the country through infected honey, which by law has to be irradiated to destroy spores when it enters the country.

The disease poses no risks to humans.


Article Categories

AGRA agribusiness agrochemicals agroforestry aid Algeria aloe vera Angola aquaculture banana barley beans beef bees Benin biodiesel biodiversity biof biofuel biosafety biotechnology Botswana Brazil Burkina Faso Burundi CAADP Cameroon capacity building cashew cassava cattle Central African Republic cereals certification CGIAR Chad China CIMMYT climate change cocoa coffee COMESA commercial farming Congo Republic conservation agriculture cotton cow pea dairy desertification development disease diversification DRCongo drought ECOWAS Egypt Equatorial Guinea Ethiopia EU EUREPGAP events/meetings expo exports fa fair trade FAO fertilizer finance fisheries floods flowers food security fruit Gabon Gambia gender issues Ghana GM crops grain green revolution groundnuts Guinea Bissau Guinea Conakry HIV/AIDS honey hoodia horticulture hydroponics ICIPE ICRAF ICRISAT IFAD IITA imports India infrastructure innovation inputs investment irrigation Ivory Coast jatropha kenaf keny Kenya khat land deals land management land reform Lesotho Liberia Libya livestock macadamia Madagascar maiz maize Malawi Mali mango marijuana markets Mauritania Mauritius mechanization millet Morocco Mozambique mushroom Namibia NEPAD Niger Nigeria organic agriculture palm oil pastoralism pea pest control pesticides pineapple plantain policy issues potato poultry processing productivity Project pyrethrum rai rain reforestation research rice rivers rubber Rwanda SADC Sao Tome and Principe seed seeds Senegal sesame Seychelles shea butter Sierra Leone sisal soil erosion soil fertility Somalia sorghum South Africa South Sudan Southern Africa spices standards subsidies Sudan sugar sugar cane sustainable farming Swaziland sweet potato Tanzania tariffs tea tef tobacco Togo tomato trade training Tunisia Uganda UNCTAD urban farming value addition value-addition vanilla vegetables water management weeds West Africa wheat World Bank WTO yam Zambia Zanzibar zero tillage Zimbabwe

  © 2007 Africa News Network design by

Back to TOP