Honey farm managers in Germany are confronted with much higher production costs than their competitors abroad, the vice president of a beekeeping association has claimed.
Bernhard Heuvel from the Federal Union of Professional Beekeepers said: “Apiarists in Germany must invest between EUR 7.00 and 7.90 (GBP 6.10 to 6.90) on the production of one kilogramme of honey.”
Heuvel claimed: “In other countries, production costs per kilogramme range between EUR 1.80 and 2.50 (GBP 1.60 to 2.20).”
Germany’s professional apiarists and their leisure-time peers fail to cover the domestic demand for the product. In 2022, German firms imported more than 74,600 tonnes of honey. More than 30,000 tonnes were sold abroad at the same time.
Ukraine, Argentina and Mexico have been identified by the German Agriculture Ministry as the main foreign sources of honey.
Heuvel, who runs an apiary in Rheinberg, North Rhine-Westphalia, did not say which countries he had in mind for his comparison of production costs. The Professional Beekeepers Union official explained: “The high costs for energy, staff and rent are the main reasons.”
Heuvel claimed that the price of glass and tinplate had quintupled in some parts of Germany.
The Professional Beekeepers Union Vice President said: “Heating and electricity have become more expensive too. We even experienced a disproportionate hike of insurance fees of 30 per cent.”
One 500-gramme jar of German honey currently costs approximately EUR 6.50 (GBP 5.62). This means that the price has risen by five per cent year on year.
When it comes to how many of Germany’s 83.2 million residents engage in beekeepers, figures are contradictory.
The German Association of Beekeepers claims to have 149,000 members while the Union of Professional Beekeepers represents 4,500 apiarists.
However, the Federal Ministry for Agriculture said there were 135,000 beekeepers, adding that only one per cent were professionals.
Germany’s hobbyists and full-time apiarists were in charge of 950,000 colonies, according to a fact sheet provided by the ministry in September 2022.