Ukraine’s Beekeeping Industry is Buzzing in Trouble

Market & Price Trends
Ukraine is among the top 5 honey producing and exporting countries in the world. The ongoing hostilities, shelling, occupation pressure, and logistics problems have raised several concerns regarding the honey industry in the country. Beekeepers across the affected regions are not able to work optimally, and it is anticipated that Ukraine is likely to lose at least 20% of its honey harvest. A fall in harvest is forecasted to impact the country's honey exports and the income generated from them. In addition, even if the country is holding honey from previous year’s stocks, the quality of the product may no longer be good enough to be sold in the global market.

Beekeeping is a linchpin of Ukraine’s economic activity, given that it is a source of income for more than 700,000 people. The country is among the top 5 global producers and exporters of honey and produces the largest quantity of honey per capita in the world. Over the past five years, Ukraine has become a strong player in the global honey market. In 2020, the country’s honey output accounted for approximately 5-6% of global honey production and 6% of global honey exports. The country ranks third among the world's exporters in terms of volume, after China and Argentina, and fifth largest in terms of value of honey exports. The country exports honey mainly to Poland, Germany, the US, Belgium and other countries in Europe.

Source: Tridge

The on-going geopolitical tensions between Russia and Ukraine have severely affected honey production across the country. With active hostilities, shelling, occupation pressure, and logistics problems, beekeepers in the Kherson and Luhansk regions are not able to work. According to Kurkul, a Ukrainian news source, Ukraine is likely to lose at least 20% of its honey harvest. The beekeepers are unable to start the season in the previously occupied territories of Kyiv, Chernihiv, or Sumy. This is forecast to impact Ukraine’s ability to export honey and generate income for Ukrainian farmers who rely on beekeeping.

Even after considering remaining honey stocks as a partial solution to low production , Ukrainian honey is regarded as tenuous due to its rapid crystallization, even after pasteurization, if stored for a long period of time. Given this, the majority of the available honey stocks are forecasted to pose quality problems, making it difficult for exporters to break into foreign markets. The outlook for the Ukrainian honey industry remains uncertain as the situation continues to worsen by day. It is difficult to say when the situation will return to normal as the restoration process is likely to take a long time. In the meantime, low honey stocks in Ukraine may be an opportunity for other honey producers and exporters to capture Ukraine’s market share in the global honey industry.

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