Local mānuka honey may face naming challenges

A native New Zealand bee (probably Leioproctus sp.) visits a manuka flower (Leptospermum scoparium). Photo taken on Tiritiri Matangi Island. Photo: Avenue, Wikimedia Commons.

The government is considering extending new rules for the mānuka honey industry to include local products as well as exports.

Last December, the Ministry for Primary Industries introduced a scientific definition for exported New Zealand mānuka honey.

It requires product to be independently tested and meet five attributes before it qualifies to be called mānuka honey.

The aim was to safeguard the industry from cowboy operators and protect New Zealand's trade reputation.

Today the Minister of Agriculture, Damien O'Connor, announced the ministry would consult the industry about the impact and benefits this would have if imposed on the domestic market.

"The New Zealand apiculture industry is an important contributor to the primary sector - both directly and as an enabler via pollination.

"The mānuka honey industry is worth nearly $180 million to New Zealand, although it's not known what portion stays in the country and this consultation will also help us to better understand that," Mr O'Connor said.

Meanwhile, industry group Apiculture New Zealand is currently seeking feedback on whether to introduce a commodity levy on honey, to help manage and leverage rapid industry growth.

The proposed levy would be 10 cents per kilogram of honey sold.

The group's chief executive, Karin Kos, today said board members will hold eight consultation meetings across the country to speak with honey producers and beekeepers about their involvement in the levy process.

"Our industry has grown significantly over the past ten years, with close to 900,000 registered beehives today, compared with less than 400,000 ten years ago.

"We now need to step up and secure the future of industry through long-term investment and funding offered through a commodity levy," she said.


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