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Slovak, Hungarian foresters in EU beekeeping project

Doing their bit to counter the worrying decline in global bee populations, state-owned forestry companies in the north of Hungary and the south of Slovakia yesterday launched a two-year project to renew their beekeeping traditions, supported by HUF 340 million in European Union cross-border funding.

Project officials said at a press conference in Topoľčianky (known to Hungarians as Kistapolcsány), west-central Slovakia, that the companies would set up apiaries, honey bee pastures and model processing plants. They will present their work to professionals as well as the general public.

Under the project title "SK-HU Foresters and Bees", Slovakian state forestry company Lesy SR and Hungaryʼs Vértesi Erdő Zrt. will implement a joint program under the Interreg V-A Slovakia-Hungary Cooperation Program for the revival of beekeeping by the two companies, it was announced at a press conference on Thursday, as reported by Hungarian daily Magyar Idők.

Marian Staník, CEO of Lesy SR, recalled that beekeeping was active in the forestry area of Kistapolcsány until 1991. Beyond its normal activities, the forestry company is also engaged in game meat processing, cultivation of ornamental plants and wine-making, while its game park plays a pioneering role in preserving the gene pool of the European bison, he added.

Vértesi Erdő Zrt. manages a total of 46,000 hectares of mainly state-owned forestry. The areaʼs varied flora provide favorable conditions for the cultivation of bees, noted Magyar Idők. For this reason, the forestry concern established its beekeeping facilities in Csákvár in 2013, Vértesi Erdő CEO Lajos Macsek said.