Wednesday, 21 February 2024 14:55

NZ honey strategy resets industry ambitions

Written by  Staff Reporters
Apiculture New Zealand chair Nathan Guy Apiculture New Zealand chair Nathan Guy

A plan to revitalise New Zealand’s honey sector and set it on a new, more sustainable and profitable path for the long term was launched yesterday by Agriculture Minister Todd McClay.

Apiculture New Zealand initiated the strategy project and drew on extensive engagement with those working in the industry.

Nathan Guy, chair of Apiculture New Zealand, says the new strategy, named Thriving Together: Futureproofing New Zealand Apiculture 2024-2030, has been developed with the aim of resetting the industry’s ambitions for a strong, sustainable future, reflecting the growing maturity of the sector and providing a means to access resources needed to invest in that future.

“The New Zealand apiculture sector has experienced extraordinary growth since manuka honey’s antibacterial properties became internationally renowned, and in that time, honey has become a valuable export earner for communities throughout New Zealand,” says Guy.

“In the ten years to 2020, New Zealand honey export revenue increased five-fold to just over $525m,” he adds.

“While we have seen the industry contract since then with a fall in export revenue and hive numbers, projected growth in the international honey market makes it clear there are compelling reasons for New Zealand honey producers to be optimistic and ambitious about the future.”

The plan is based on three key pillars – Sustainability, Quality-Led and Consumer Focus – which support a goal of doubling New Zealand’s honey export value by 2030.

That goal will be enabled by strengthening industry leadership, creating a sustainable industry reinvestment model, making sure regulatory needs are met to enable future growth, and creating a unique and differentiating New Zealand honey story.

The strategy also considers what the industry needs to do to protect bee health and support beekeepers.

“While industry participants are facing significant challenges at the moment, we haven’t lost sight of the growth potential. New Zealand is a trusted source of high-quality honey, and commands premium prices for all its honey products, not just mānuka.” 

Rob Chemaly, Chair of the Unique Mānuka Factor Honey Association says the strategy lays a strong foundation for all in the sector to capitalise on the opportunities for growth.

“The global natural health market for 2024 is estimated to be at least US$24 billion by 2030 with a forecast compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8%. If we solidify our export structures and work together as an industry to continue to respond to what consumers want, New Zealand honey will be perfectly placed to continue capitalising on this growth,” says Chemaly.

The Chair of The Mānuka Charitable Trust, Pita Tipene welcomed the industry strategy. 

“As kaitiaki for mānuka as a taonga species of Aotearoa-New Zealand the strategy strengthens the partnership we have with both industry and government. This confirms our collective aspirations for our unique honey to build a compelling mātauranga Māori mānuka story,” says Tipene.

Apiculture New Zealand acknowledges MPI and the Sustainable Food and Fibres Futures (SFFF) fund for making this strategy project possible.

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