The honey production this year will not be higher than 7,000 tonnes because of the drought that affected most of the areas planted with lime and acacia trees associated with high costs, vicepresident of the Romanian Bee Keepers’ Association (ACAR) Petru Moraru told.
"If in a normal year the honey production stands at 15,000-20,000 tonnes, this year the production will be lower. I estimate that it will be around 30-35% of this quantity, namely somewhere around 6,000-7,000 tons because much of the areas preferred by apiculturists in the southern region of Oltenia, the south-eastern Dobrogea and southern Muntenia were drought stricken," said Moraru.
According to ACAR, last year Romania’s honey production did not go higher than 11,000 tons, that is half the 21,000 tons, announced in the statistics of the Ministry of Agriculture, and below the data presented by the National Statistics Institute, 16,000 tons.
2007 was the poorest of the last six years for bee keepers, who managed to export only 6,500 kg to the EU countries for an average price of 1.9 euros per kg.
"We estimate that this year, following the enforcement of Law 509/2006 on the honey consumption in schools, the domestic market will be able to absorb about 3,000-4,000 tonnes of honey and another about 1,000-1,500 tonnes could be exported," said Moraru. Currently processors buy honey from apiculturists for sums ranging between 5 and 7 lei per kg, and the average export price is 1.3 euros per kg. At present, on the domestic market, honey sells cheaper in the southern region than in other areas as, in these regions, consumption is lowest when compared with Transylvania or Banat (central and western Romania)), where there is a tradition of honey consumption.
The ACAR representative says that in the past few years the domestic honey consumption increased significantly and that, by introducing honey in schools, a new generation could be educated in the benefits of honey consumption.
"If a few years ago the per capita honey consumption in Romania was 80-100 g a year, currently it has increased 4-5 times, up to 400 g per head, according to statistics. However, consumption is still low as against the one in the European Union countries, where it stands at 1.5-2.5 kg per head," added the ACAR vice-president.
Law 509/2006 provides for a daily consumption of 60 g per schoolchild and concurrently with the appearance of the rules to apply it, the feeding programme might begin this autumn.
Romania’s honey production over the past few years, except for 2007, has been around 19,000 tonnes, the total number of bee families topping one million now. The counties boasting the largest number of bee families are Valcea (southern Romania), Mures (central Romania), Arad and Bihor (western Romania). In Romania there are about 40,000 registered bee keepers, half of whom are ACAR members.