Company’s products to tackle bee crisis

AN Irish company has been launched offering breakthrough food additives to help tackle the colony collapse disorder crisis facing the global bee population.

Beemune emerged following two years research at NUI Maynooth that has helped create a product range to help counter the massive loss of the commercial global bee population, 66% of which was wiped out in 2007.

That loss has huge implications for the €500 billion global food crop industry of which 40% relies on bee pollination to germinate and grow.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Mary Coughlan, launched the firm at the Dublin City Council’s fruit market, formerly known as the Smithfield.

She described the breakthrough by the group as “hugely significant”.

Not only is food production a pressing global issue but the emergence of firms like Beemune, which has been backed by Enterprise Ireland, will lead to significant wealth creation and high value jobs over the next three years.

“The company fits the Government’s strategy of increasing the number of indigenous, innovative start-up companies that will lead to job creation and increased volumes of exports... Beemune is an excellent example of this strategy in action,” she said.

The products are currently being tested by the US authorities and the group is confident that orders will start to flow from the US and elsewhere within the next six to 18 months.

Anticipating a positive reaction to the feed supplements the group will re-invest a significant amount of its earnings to build a substantial R&D centre in Ireland over the next three years to allow it to further develop this range of feed additives .

Research for this first phase was carried out by Kevin Kavanagh in Maynooth who is a recognised global authority in this field who specialise in insect biology and immunology.

He told the Irish Examiner the products he has developed look to be 75% effective in reducing the loss of the commercial bee population to a variety of diseases that has seriously threatened their long-term survival.

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