Romania Ranks 3rd in EU Honey Exports for 2023

Yet, Romanian good-quality honey is barely reaching the shelves.

Last year, the member states of the European Union imported 163,700 tons of natural honey, worth 359.3 million euros, from countries located outside the EU bloc. In contrast, in 2023, only 24,900 tonnes were exported by EU member states outside the bloc. The value of these exports was 146 million euros, and the largest exporters were Spain, Germany, Romania, Hungary and Greece, according to the data published on Monday by the European Statistics Office (Eurostat).

Last year, Spain was the largest EU exporter of honey within the bloc, sending 7,100 tons of honey to third countries, or 29% of the total EU exports outside the Union. It is followed by Germany (5,500 tons, 22%), Romania (1,700 tons, 7%), Hungary (1,600 tons, 6%) and Greece (1,500 tons, 6%).

Great Britain was the main export partner last year, receiving the largest share of EU honey exports (4,300 tons, or 17% of the total EU honey exports from outside the EU bloc). It is followed by Saudi Arabia (3,500 tons, 14%), Switzerland (3,400 tons, 13%), the United States (3,300 tons, 13%) and Japan (2,500 tons, 10%).

Compared to 2013, imports of natural honey from outside the EU increased by 20% (from 136,300 tons to 163,700 tons), while EU exports to countries outside the EU increased by 14% (from 21,700 tons to 24,900 tons).

Last year, honey imports from countries outside the EU bloc came mainly from China (60,200 tons or 37% of the total), Ukraine (45,800 tons, 28%), Argentina (20,400 tons, 12%), Mexico (10,700 tons , 7%) and Cuba (4,700 tons, 3%).

In 2023, the largest EU importers of honey from countries outside the bloc were Germany (41,000 tons or 25% of all EU imports), Belgium (31,400 tons, 19%), Poland (23,300 tons, 14%), Spain (15,700 tons, 10%) and France (7,700 tons, 5%).

The Eurostat data were published on the occasion of the celebration, on May 20, of World Bee Day.

According to the European Commission, on the list of the largest producers of honey, China ranks first, and the EU ranks second. The EU countries with the largest production of honey (Romania, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Greece, France and Poland) are located mainly in the south and east of Europe, where the climatic conditions are more favorable for the practice of beekeeping.

But, Romania is a country of paradoxes. Although Romanian beekeepers are good experts and highly ranked, however, a large part of the honey is exported in bulk, because there are not enough processing units in the country. Furthermore, Romanian honey is mixed with Chinese honey, after which it sometimes returns, in beautifully colored jars, to store shelves. So, only a small fraction of record productions in Romania end up being sold as quality products, as local beekeepers are struggling to sell it cheaply, quickly and in bulk, to intermediaries who then export it.

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  • Panagiotis Spyridis

    The overall EU regulation has to be strickened for the mixing and baptising processes. Similar phenomena exist in the olive oil industry. Italy being a small producer compared to Spain and Greece, baptise “Italian olive oil” the non Italian with a mixing of 10% real Italian + 90% Greek = Italiano. Consumers should be aware that whatever Honey and Olive oil comes in a pretty bottle is suspicious!