GENERICO.ruRussiaWho killed our bee?

Who killed our bee?

Bees are dying en masse in the Borsky district of the Samara region. Beekeepers blame agricultural holdings and farmers for this, who negligently use pesticides. The problem has been hitting the “bee” economy in the region for the second year already, but this year it has become widespread. The victims have repeatedly turned for help to the regional ministries and to the governor Dmitry Azarov, but in response they received only formal replies.

It is not only bees that suffer. Pesticides – plant protection products that are sprayed on fields – deplete the soil and kill other insects flying in their area. On July 15, after another chemical treatment of the land near the village of Bogdanovka, local residents complained of unpleasant toxic odors.

“They poison and kill”

The village of New Kutuluk. I fly past the old village houses and stop in the center at the only grocery store, where I meet with our first interlocutor Alexander Temlyantsev.

Alexander Petrovich is a hereditary beekeeper, his father was engaged in insect breeding even before industrialization. Now the man is 62 years old. In the 1980s, he was a district deputy, and from 2010 to 2015 – the head of the village. Temlyantsev is proud that he was “chosen by the people”.

Alexander is engaged in natural beekeeping – all that is required of him is a stationary apiary and the creation of external conditions for the development of bee colonies, interference in their life is minimal. In total, 100 families are recorded in his business book. Basically, the products are bought by local and “city” ones, but the beekeeper complains about a drop in demand due to a decrease in the general level of wages and small pensions. “I have never seen the worst sale of honey among the population, like this year,” he admits. There are also dealers, but they dictate their prices: 60-80 rubles per kilogram of honey.

– After us, intermediaries transport products to large companies, and they sell it in cities with a two-three-fold markup, – Alexander is indignant. “And it’s okay if honey itself were displayed, but they will“ body ”it and stuff it with flavorings.

Temlyantsev adds that low demand coincided with the mass death of insects this summer. The problem itself has been terrorizing local beekeepers for two years now. The latter accuse agricultural holdings and farmers of negligent use of chemicals.

– In June, the first large-scale spraying of fields with pesticides began. For the first time I noticed the problem in the middle of the month, when one of the groups of bees did not return to the apiary, – says Alexander Petrovich. – I checked every swarm – I didn't find it, I called my familiar beekeepers – they have the same problem.

According to Federal Law No. 490-FZ “On Beekeeping”, farmers are obliged to notify about upcoming chemical treatments through the media, local administration, veterinary services and regional beekeeping societies. But they obey the laws in their own way and do not always warn about spraying the fields. For example, the Bio-Ton company notified the local newspaper Borskie Izvestia about the conduct of agrochemical works near several villages in the Borsky District from May 1 to June 1. Also, our interlocutor recalls the announcement of the chemical cultivation of land from June 29 to July 30.

“The agronomist who warned him does not break the law, but another problem appears – we must close our apiaries from departures for almost a month, and this will lead to the death of many bee colonies,” Temlyantsev argues. – Imagine closed insect boxes in the summer heat – they will burn!

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Photo: RIA Novosti

The beekeeper says that he has been familiar with spraying fields since Soviet times, when he led a team for treating plants from pests at the Neprik state farm “. “In the 1970s, Granosan (a light gray powder poisonous to humans and pets) was often used – A.E. ), but we sprayed it during non-flying time for insects, since each farm had its own apiaries. The death of even one bee would lead to serious proceedings! “

If it is possible to agree with farmers about the time of spraying the fields, then big business ignores beekeepers. & Nbsp;

In Borsky district, it is represented by agricultural holdings LLC Neprik, Usmanka, Bio-Ton – the company completed 2020 with a record profit of 2.4 billion rubles – and OP SHP Pokrovskoe, whose founder is the Samara Region Development Corporation “Associated with the regional government. The only agricultural holding with which Temlyantsev found a compromise is Neprik LLC, and he has a lot of questions about the Pokrovskoe agricultural enterprise.

Development without development

According to Alexander, Pokrovskoe grows grain crops and sunflower, although before the 2016 elections, United Russia and Merkushkin promised to build on its basis a dairy farm in the village of Pokrovka for 2,400 cows.

“Production would improve the situation,” says the beekeeper. “Instead of oilseeds, which farmers often cultivate and plant every year, forgetting about the recommended interval of 7–8 years, there would be forage plants here, and part of the land would be freed up. But the regional government quietly pays through the “Development” toxic chemicals dangerous for bees, people and soil.

The corporation's website still has a page to attract investors to a dairy farm project. They are promised “high milk yield” – from 20 thousand tons of milk per year, 2,400 Holstein cows, “premium” products, ready-made project documentation and trained personnel. The site also states that Pokrovskoye owns more than 22 thousand hectares of land in the Bogatovsky and Borsky districts of the region, allocated for sowing feed for livestock. Plus “high quality seeds and plant processing products” were purchased.

The corporation's board of directors includes Viktor Kudryashov, First Vice Governor and Chairman of the Samara Region Government, his Deputy Natalya Katina, Agriculture and Food Minister Nikolai Abashin, Economic Development Minister Dmitry Bogdanov and Finance Minister Andrey Pryamilov.

In 2019, the Regional Accounts Chamber (JV) checked the work of the corporation to find investors for the “dairy” project and the results of the creation of a farm on the basis of the Pokrovskoe agricultural enterprise. As a result of inspections, the joint venture found out that the declared cost of creating the complex changed several times: in 2013 – 2.067 billion rubles, in 2015 – 6.3 billion, in 2016 – 4 billion rubles. In addition, in 2016, the business plan of the project was changed, postponing the construction of the farm to 2021.

Photo: & nbs Sergey Malgavko/TASS

The department also found violations in the processing of fields, harvesting, the purchase and maintenance of agricultural machinery.

Not to the buzzing

It is difficult to prove that it is the pesticides that poison the bees. The region has the “Samara Regional Veterinary Laboratory”, which examines the composition of pesticides in the submarine of insects, but it is not accredited, and its findings do not affect anything.

– Unfortunately, we do not have independent laboratories and veterinary experts, – Temlyantsev admits with sadness. – Plus the same “Pokrovskoe” and its founder are associated with the regional government. They don't have any problems, officials get paid, but they don't want to quarrel with their bosses.

In July, the second large-scale spraying of fields began in Borsky district. The problem with bees is repeated. In the same month, Alexander Petrovich for the first time discussed the mass death of buzzers with one of the Pokrovsky agronomists.

“In July, the bees that flew through the Pokrovsky fields disappeared again,” Temlyantsev waves his hands. – One afternoon started the car and drove in the same direction. I see a tractor driver is sprinkling the ground. I take the number of the agronomist from him. On the phone, he says to me: “This is our property – we spray when it is convenient for us.” At the end he added: “In ten years nothing will grow on this earth.” He did not care about my claims about the damage to the apiary and the environment.

According to the victim, the farmers are trying to get products with minimal costs. To do this, they annually plant the soil with sunflowers and cultivate the fields at a convenient time for them, so as not to overtake the equipment several times from the base in the village of Pokrovka, the man said.

“Local authorities scare farmers, but they don’t quarrel with big business,” my interlocutor is sure. – The regional department of the Ministry of Agriculture acts as a consultant. But why do we need consultants who only write reports? The head of the Borsky district, Ardabyev, has completely forgotten about us.

On August 21, Temlyantsev went to the Fire Arc festival in the village of Borskoye, where he wanted to personally discuss the problem with Governor Dmitry Azarov. But on the way out of New Kutuluk, his car ran into barbed wire. The beekeeper suspects that the regional authorities deliberately put her on the road so that he would be late for a meeting with the head of the region.

Governor of the Samara Region Dmitry Azarov. Photo: RIA Novosti

– Despite the wire, I reached Borsky. At first, I did not find Azarov, and then I saw that he arrived late by helicopter, explains Temlyantsev. – Dmitry Igorevich quickly congratulated us and said that “I have to fly to another event.” Nobody had time to talk to him.

The problem with the death of bees is not new. Back in August 2019, another injured beekeeper, Sergey Trynkin, sent an appeal to Azarov. Prior to that, he wrote to the Minister of Agriculture and Food of the Samara Region, the head of the Borsky district and the head of the district administration of agriculture, Vladimir Polyanskikh. In response – unsubscribe and promises.

“The death of bees signals to us, people, that uncontrolled chemicalization of agricultural crops will lead to disruptions in the ecosystem, and the accumulation of poisons in the ground will affect the health of a person, a consumer of agricultural products,” the appeal to the governor says.

In April 2020 – then the problem of mass death of insects reached the federal level – the first deputy head of the Ministry of Agriculture, Dzhambulat Khatuov, suggested that regional leaders of agro-industrial complexes create a joint register of beekeepers. He was supposed to establish interaction between farmers and beekeepers. The Samara register includes 609 beekeepers, but the list does not include, for example, Alexander Temlyantsev and his comrade from the neighboring village of Bogdanovka Nikolai Ledovskikh.

– Before the register, not a single state structure dealt with us, – Trynkin complains. – The Ministry of Agriculture somehow dazzled the list of beekeepers by region, and our interaction stopped there.

At the initiative of Sergei, a group chat was additionally created in Viber, but in it only a couple of farmers are warned in advance about spraying plants.

This summer, the mass death of insects was not limited to the Samara region. In July 2021, more than 20 million bees died in the Krasnoyarsk Territory in a month. In October, the prosecutor's office and Rospotrebnadzor proved that the cause of death was pesticides, which the local agricultural holding used to process the fields without warning. The enterprise was fined 10 thousand rubles, and the guilty official was brought to disciplinary responsibility. For more than two years, they have been fighting this problem in Bashkiria, but there big business remains completely unpunished.

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