Honey is a small but important industry for Australia. Australian honey producers benefit from a relatively pest free existence and a diverse range of flora. The Honey Industry includes pollination services which is critical to the Horticultural Industry. This provides a good level of demand to the industry. There are generally good profits for producers and service providers in the industry.
The Australian honey bee industry produces between 20,000 and 30,000 tonnes of honey annually. Approximately 4,630 tonnes is exported per year (of the three years to March 2014); 70 per cent of Australian honey is produced from native flora. While honey is the major commercial output of the honey bee industry, there are a number of other products which also add to the income of honey bee businesses, and include paid pollination services, beeswax production, queen bee and packaged bee sales.
Australia is one of the few countries with a healthy bee population. The Asian Honey Bee presence has been declared an endemic in Australia, especially in North Queensland. The Asian Honey Bee is a natural host of the Varroa mite. The main threat to the industry is if further Asian Honey Bees enter Australia and spread the Varroa mite to wider bee population. This would have dire consequences to the Australian Honey industry.
The industry suffers from not having a national body to represent the industry in policy formation and lobbying government, and conducting organised marketing efforts.
While profits are generally healthy for the industry participants, producers are experiencing a trend of lower profitability as a result of increased supermarket buying power. The long-term future of the industry is dependent upon promoting domestic consumption of pure honey as opposed to imported artificial honey, and the opening and expanding export markets.
In 2014, the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) determined the gross value of production (GVP) of the beekeeping industry in 2012-13 was $88 million, with a forecasted GVP of $92 million in 2013-14 (ABARES 2014). The relatively small beekeeping industry GVP understates the industry’s value to agriculture and the economy in general through pollination services and, potentially, the value of honey and honey products in medical uses.
Source: Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation as published on the website