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Home arrow News & Events arrow Industry News arrow Price of nutty treats to soar as declining honey bee population hits almond production
Price of nutty treats to soar as declining honey bee population hits almond production Print

The price of nutty snacks and treats is set to soar as almond orchard owners struggle to pollinate their crops because of the dwindling honey bee population.

Almond nuts and milk are a vital ingredient for confectioners and cereal-makers around the world with the global market worth around $5 billion (approximately R51 million).

Almond orchards in California, which account for 80% of the world's crop, require 1.5 million beehives every year for pollination making honey bees vital to crop production. But almond farmers have seen the price of renting bees hives for pollination triple in the last decade which is having a knock-on effect on the wholesale cost.

It now costs on average $150 (R1530) to hire a single hive with some farmers to pay up to $200 (R2040), the Financial Times reports. This has seen the wholesale price of almonds reach an eight year high with the figure expected to continue rising as honey bee populations decrease.

As Californian almond prices set a benchmark for the industry, the increasing cost of hiring beehives in America has also had an impact in Europe. Alpro, one of the top manufacturers of almond milk in Europe, said it was concerned about the impact on prices.

The drastic downturn in the honey bee population is also concerning environmentalists and scientists around the world. In the last few years, the annual winter 'die-out' rate has been 10 per cent higher than usual. It has been suggested climate change, pollution, pests or even 'travel stress' from the bees being shipped from pollination site to pollination site being to blame.

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