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Monsanto Announces Clinton Global Initiative Commitment on Honey Bee Health

Published: October 31, 2013
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Well this is desperate, and well funded. This gem is via EON: Enhanced Online News

Monsanto recently announced its Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment to Action on honey bee health at the 2013 CGI Annual Meeting. As part of this announcement, the company committed its support to a coalition convened by The Keystone Center.

“If modern agriculture is to remain sustainable, I believe all segments of the agriculture industry need to be able to sit down and have honest and open-minded conversations”

The Keystone Center is convening a diverse, multi-stakeholder collaboration focused on improving honey bee health. Keystone is currently conducting an assessment phase to help determine who will be involved as well as the scope, mission and goals of the Coalition. It is anticipated that participation will come from sectors including crop production, beekeeping, agribusiness, university, NGO and government. Initial funding for the effort has been provided by Monsanto as part of its CGI Commitment to Action on honey bee health.

“As an independent convener, Keystone’s mission in this initial scoping phase is to ensure we are building a well-rounded group of perspectives,” said Sarah Stokes Alexander, The Keystone Center’s Vice President of Programs. “We’ll be working with diverse stakeholders involved to identify areas of collaboration for honey bee health.”

Monsanto has initially committed to provide support in four priority areas of focus: 1) improving honey bee nutrition; 2) providing research investment in novel technology for varroa and virus control; 3) understanding science-based approaches to studying pesticide impacts on honey bees and increasing awareness of pesticide best management practices among growers and beekeepers; and 4) enabling economic empowerment of beekeepers.

“One-third of our diet is made up of vegetables, fruits and nuts that depend on pollinators like honey bees,” said Jerry Hayes, Monsanto’s Commercial Bee Health Lead. “Honey bees play an essential role in ensuring crop yields—a critical need for global food security. We’re proud to join this coalition and support efforts to improve and sustain honey bee health.”

A significant decline in the honey bee population is posing a threat to agricultural sustainability and food security, as well as to ecosystem health and biodiversity. In the United States, beekeepers have seen an average winter loss of more than 30 percent of honey bee colonies every year since 2006 as a result of CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), a phenomenon in which bees disappear abruptly from an otherwise healthy colony. The low survival rate of honey bee colonies is leading to a significant decline in the overall honey bee population. Historically, approximately 6 million colonies existed in the United States; today approximately 2.5 million colonies exist.

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