German Bees Get Chancellor Merkel’s Backing as Stocks Endangered

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s bloc and the Social Democrats agreed to raise efforts to protect the country’s bees as domestic stocks dwindle.

Bee colonies, which are “invaluable” for Germany’s agriculture and ecosystem, are endangered, Deputy Environment Minister Katherina Reiche and the Social Democrats’ Ute Vogt said in a joint e-mailed statement. “We want to protect them.”

Bees help produce apples, tomatoes, nuts and other fruits and seeds by pollinating, creating billions of euros in economic value each year. Germany has seen higher-than-average bee deaths during recent winters when the insects hibernate, according to the German Beekeepers’ Association.

“We need joint efforts from the federal government and the states,” Reiche and Vogt said in the statement. Parties have agreed to continue funding research programs monitoring bee stocks, they said.

Without insect pollination, about a third of the crops humans eat would have to be pollinated by other means to maintain yield, according to environmental group Greenpeace.

“In some specific regions of North America, East Asia and Europe, the value of pollination can be as high as $1,500 per hectare, money that farmers -- and society at large -- will be losing if pollinators were to decline in those regions,” Greenpeace said in its “Bees in Decline” study in April.

Merkel’s bloc and the Social Democrats are midway through talks to form a coalition government.

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