Friday, January 25, 2008

Apitherapy Products Add Value to New Zealand Honey Exports

Beekeeping Sector Flies Ahead on Export Growth
By Hugh Stringleman, The National Business Review (New Zealand), 1/25/2008

With a reputation for one of the world's highest standards of honeys and bee products, apiculture in New Zealand is adding value to exports in ways that other primary industries might well emulate.

Beyond traditional uses, bee products are now found in health supplements, functional foods and wound dressings.

Five dollars' worth of high active-ingredient manuka honey, for example, is refined, further processed and packaged into products selling for 15 to 50 times more, according to promotional material from Comvita, the listed industry leader, which has a $66 million market capitalisation…

A future income stream for beekeepers and landowners will be the planting of manuka/kanuka trees which can earn carbon credits under the Kyoto Protocol and will increase the value of the subsequent honey.

Comvita has a commercial relationship with Kyoto Forests NZ of Wellington in this regard to resource and encourage its suppliers…

The excitement in world markets over New Zealand manuka honeys with high unique factors is dragging up prices for all multifloral honeys, he said.

Comvita wound-care US partner Derma Sciences has achieved the first marketing clearance from the Food and Drug Administration for a honey-based product for the management of wounds and burns. Those products were launched in the US in October...

Comvita made three purchases in 2007, the most recent being Kiwibee apiarist of Northland, a medical honey supplier. Kiwibee has 3000 hives on 150 manuka sites and generates $1 million in annual sales. It was bought by Comvita for $2.15 million.

Mr Hewlett said Comvita's business plan was not to vertically integrate by purchasing apiarists, being quite happy with its network of 120 suppliers. However, Kiwibee's output was of the high standard necessary to supply Comvita's medically authorised plant in Cambridge, and was secured to meet the forecast "medihoney" demand…

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