The decrease in honey production and its impact on local producers and consumers

A combination of factors have led to a decrease in the availability of honey resulting in increased prices and a local producer market facing international competition. Senior Agriculture Economist at FNB, Paul Makube, addresses six questions…
  1. How extensive is the lack of honey in SA and global market?
    SA production is normally around 2,000 tonnes per year and current estimates indicate that a decrease in production is expected. At least 1,000 tonnes is normally imported.

  2. How has it impacted on pricing?
    The shortage has resulted in upward pricing as the market is generally small both locally and internationally. Wholesale prices ranged R40 to R45 per kg in previous years and have recently reach R65 per kg due to the drought.

  3. How has it impacted competitiveness of SA businesses?
    The reduced domestic production situation attracted imports which mean a loss of market share for the local product and producers.

    It should, however, be noted that the critical importance of honey bees is not only for the production of honey but for agriculture and conservation as well in terms of their role in pollination of deciduous fruits and conservation of floral reserves and in terms of maintaining biodiversity. The recovery of this sector is, therefore, more important for the agricultural market as a whole.

  4. Are there measures in place to assist this market and businesses in this sector?
    Support is in terms of legislation and agriculture and conservation services by the various departments…These are however not financial in nature and the market has to fend for itself from a marketing and infrastructure perspective…

  5. What are the short and long term impacts on the agriculture sector?
    While production is expected to rebound as conditions normalise, the effect on the agri-sector could be huge if there is no sufficient recovery. For example, the value-added by the managed honey bees on the South African deciduous fruit industry alone could easily exceed R200m per year. The broader impact on biodiversity could even be bigger in the longer term.

  6. Has the drought been responsible for the lack of honey?
    Drought was a principal factor in the current shortage…

SANHA comments:
Honey is one of Allah’s bounties mentioned specifically in the Quraan and Hadith. It has great healing properties.