- Honey Situation and Outlook in Selected
|Honey production in six major producing countries
in 1999 is forecast at 459,500 metric tons, an increase
of 3 percent from the 1998 output. Two of the
worlds largest honey producers, China and Argentina
are expecting higher production, which will more than
offset production declines in the United States and
Canada. China, the worlds largest honey producer,
is expected to recover from a significant production
decline in 1998, rising 16 percent to 180,000 metric
tons. Honey exports for 1999 from selected countries are
forecast to increase by about 6 percent to 215,000 metric
tons. Argentina is forecast to increase exports in 1999
to 75,000 tons, as domestic production is forecast at
record levels. Production in the United States is
forecast to decrease by 10 percent to 90,000 tons due to
unfavorable weather conditions in 1999. U.S. honey
exports in 1999 are forecast at 4,000 tons. Major U.S.
markets are Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Canada, and Germany.
U.S. imports in 1999 are forecast at 77,000 tons, an
increase of 28 percent from the previous years
- Honey production in 1999 is forecast at a record 85,000
tons, 13 percent above the revised 1998 output.
Unfavorable weather conditions during 1998 negatively
impacted honey production and decreased yields from 38.9
kg/colony to 35.7 kg/colony. However, these weather
conditions were not as severe as first expected and the
1998 production estimate was raised by 25 percent, to
75,000 tons. Argentina is the only major producing
country in which the number of producing colonies is
growing, with growth at 22 percent over the past 3 years.
- In response to the higher production, exports in 1999 are
forecast at 75,000 tons, 8 percent higher than the
revised 1998 shipments. Most Argentine honey is exported
in bulk in 300 kilogram drums, with only a small amount
of honey packaged in jars and exported to Brazil. Honey
is exported during the entire year with the heaviest
export flow taking place between March and May. The
United States and Germany are the main export markets,
accounting for 75 percent of total shipments. Other key
export markets include Spain, Italy, the UK, and Japan.
- Only about 8 percent of Argentinas honey production
is consumed domestically. In 1999, honey consumption is
forecast to be boosted by the high availability.
Generally, Argentine consumption fluctuates widely in
relation to the level of production and exports.
- Canadas honey production in 1999 is forecast at
34,000 tons, 20 percent below the record 1998 output.
Favorable rainfall and temperature conditions in the
major Canadian honey producing areas resulted in good
conditions for bee activity and above average yields,
though not matching last years record harvest.
- Canadas honey exports in 1999 are forecast at
15,000 tons, 34 percent above the previous years
shipments, as high carry over stocks remained available
for export. The United States and Germany are expected to
account for most of this increase. Canada has no
quantitative restrictions on honey imports from the
United States, but market opportunities for U.S. honey
remain limited, reflecting Canadas surplus
production position and a strong U.S. dollar.
- Canada has banned imports of live U.S. bees since 1987
due to the presence of Varroa mite in certain U.S.
states. Canada allows the importation of queen bees only
from Hawaii under strict health measures. The Government
of Canada has been extending the import ban at two year
intervals, with the current honeybee import prohibition
order expiring in December 1999.
- Chinas honey production in 1999 is forecast at
180,000 tons, an increase of 16 percent over the previous
year. This level of production would signal a return to
average production levels, recovering from the poor 1998
harvest, which was adversely affected by poor weather
conditions and bee diseases.
- Chinese exports are forecast at 80,000 tons in 1999, a 2
percent increase from 1998. According to the Honey
Suspension Agreement between the United States and China,
the price for honey exported from China to the United
States was determined by a reference point set three
months prior to actual trading. Exports to all
destinations are forecast to increase slightly in 1999.
The largest markets for Chinese honey are Japan, the
United States, Germany, Belgium, and Spain.
- Germanys honey production in 1999 is forecast at
13,000 tons, 20 percent below the previous years
output of 16,306 tons. The 1998 production estimate was
raised by 9 percent as poor weather did not have as
severe effects as initially expected. National production
potential continued to decrease as the number of
apiarists and number of commercial colonies have both
slowly declined in recent years.
- Germany, the worlds largest importer of honey is
forecast to decrease imports slightly in 1999, to 91,000
tons, because of high stock levels built up in 1998. The
bulk of imports are from Argentina, China, and Mexico and
arrive in large containers that are processed further
before domestic sale or re-export. Imports from the
United States in 1998 totaled 585 tons. The German market
provides opportunities for U.S. honey processors,
especially if the honey is marketed in attractive jars
(i.e. appealing to children) or plastic containers in
- Honey production in 1998 is forecast at 57,500 tons, 3
percent above the 1998 estimate. The increase in
production in 1999 is mainly due to favorable weather
conditions in Mexicos major honey producing
regions, in addition to the gradual improvement in pest
control and modernization of the industry.
- Mexican producers are currently gaining knowledge and
experience in dealing with the serious problems of the
Varroa mite and the Africanization of apiaries. Small and
non-traditional hobbyist producers continue to leave the
industry because of lack of experience with these
problems, while the remaining producers are more equipped
to implement the necessary control practices. However,
production of queen bees, which are used to prevent
Africanization of beehives, is still insufficient to
cover domestic demand.
- Exports of honey in 1998 are forecast at 29,000 tons, 10
percent above 1998 shipments. Major export markets for
Mexican honey include Germany, the United States, the
United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia. Mexicos honey
industry largely focuses on international markets because
honey is more expensive than other sweeteners, such as
sugar, for use in the domestic sweetener market.
- United States
- The first official estimate of 1999 U.S. honey
production, based on an objective survey, will not be
available from the National Agricultural Statistics
Service (NASS) until February 2000.
- Weather conditions were variable throughout the country
for the 1999 season, with yields expected to decrease
slightly. Most sources expect production in 1999 to be
approximately 90,000 tons, 10 percent below last
years output. Nearly half of all bee colonies and
more than half of all U.S. honey production in the United
States is located in California, Florida, Minnesota,
North Dakota, and South Dakota.
- According to industry sources, the numbers of apiarists
and bee colonies continue to decline due to increasing
losses from mites and other diseases and rising
production costs. Small apiarists continue to leave the
market because of low prices and the increasing cost and
time needed to maintain colonies that are highly
productive and free of pests.
- Exports of U.S. honey in 1999 are forecast at 4,000 tons,
a 15 percent decrease from last years shipments and
roughly equal to 1997 exports. U.S. imports in 1999 are
forecast at 77,000 tons, a 28 percent increase from 1998.
- The United States is one of the worlds largest
markets for industrial honey. This sector accounts for
approximately 45 percent of total domestic consumption.
The primary users of industrial honey are bakery, health
food, and cereal manufacturers. Other users, such as the
food service industry, account for another 10 percent of
domestic consumption. Individual consumers, who purchase
small amounts of honey for personal use also
significantly contribute to overall consumption in the
- The FAS Attache Report search engine contains
detailed reports on Honey for more all the countries
described above. For information on
production and trade, contact Mark Petry at 202-720-0897.
For information on marketing contact Yvette
Wedderburn-Bomersheim at 202-720-0911.
Last modified: Thursday, April 06, 2000