The opportunity is there. “There’s a world shortage of honey – especially
Beekeeping was cited as an example of a profitable conservation industry. But it must reach its full economic potential or there will not be a strong enough incentive for people to protect trees, for example, that might otherwise serve as charcoal or timber. The opportunity is there. “There’s a world shortage of honey – especially organic,” Smith notes. The price of honey is high, as is international demand: Europeans consume an average of 0.7kg (1.5lb) of honey per year, and the EU is the world’s biggest importer, buying in around 200,000 tonnes (it is also the second biggest producer of honey after China). Africa’s top honey-producing countries could earn an estimated $100 million (£76 million) per year with investment and innovation Smith and Allsopp suggest Africa’s top honey-producing countries could earn an estimated $100 million (£76 million) per year with investment and innovation. Ethiopia – Africa’s biggest honey producer – currently makes 45,000 to 50,000 tonnes of honey a year, but a lot of that is used in local tej wine and less than 1,000 tonnes are exported. In Kenya, the National Farmers Information Service claims only 20% of the country’s honey-producing potential – estimated at 100,000 tonnes – is being tapped. One company that has taken advantage of demand for high-quality honey is Hurters Honey, a family business and one of South Africa’s most successful honey producers, founded in 1978. Surrounded by swathes of coastal fynbos vegetation with the Atlantic Ocean roaring beyond white sand dunes, Hurters has an enviable spot in Langebaan, 90 minutes outside Cape Town. Their hives yield deliciously fragrant fynbos honey – a specialist product sold by Hurters alongside eucalyptus and orange blossom honey.