Markets & trade in bee products

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Markets & trade in bee products

Apiculture gives some of the world's poorest people the opportunity to sell products into local, regional and international markets, giving people the potential to enhance their household's cash income.

A wide range of bee products can be produced and traded.  Honey and beeswax are most widely known, produced in the largest volumes and have markets everywhere.  Other hive products such as pollen, propolis, bee venom and royal jelly are also traded.  Secondary products/value added items and beekeeping equipment may also be produced to generate additional income. These latter categories do not necessarily have to be produced by the beekeepers; family members and other entrepreneurs in the community can be involved. The bees themselves and/or their pollination services, can be traded and under some circumstances are very valuable. 

 Although the first response from project organisers and producers is frequently linked to ideas of exporting their honey to the developed world, this is not always the most profitable market.  Gaining access to international markets usually requires enforceable product standards to be developed in the country of origin. Prices are often higher in local, domestic urban or wider regional markets with lower packing and transport costs and without the need to adhere to strict legislation or to comply with costly regulations. The easiest market  to access is almost always the one that is closest to the producer, but these may be limited in terms of size.   Gaining access to more distant markets requires dealing with traders, wholesalers and retailers.  Producers may find they need new ideas, new information, new skills and new ways of working to access and benefit from distant markets. Forming an association or collective trading group can be a first step to achieving the scale of production needed to reach distant markets advantageously. 

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  • Language English
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  • Author Bees for Development
  • Publisher Bees for Development
  • Published Date October 2016
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