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The EU produces around 50% of the honey and beeswax it uses, with the rest imported; the  majority of honey imports are supplied by South American countries. In 2001 China was the second largest supplier of honey to the EU. However, in February 2002 the discovery of residues of the antibiotic - chloramphenicol - in samples of Chinese honey led to an instant ban. This ban also led to a shortage in world honey supply and forced prices up. The ban was not lifted until 2006, by which time Chinese suppliers had lost significant credibility and is struggling to regain its EU market share. The table shows the percentage of total honey imports into the EU for 2001 to 2005. 



Total $ million

Intra EU share (%)

Extra EU share (%) (excl. DC)

Total DC share (%)

Individual DC market share

All EU members





Argentina (23% Mexico (6% Brazil (4% Chile (3%)

DC = developing country            Source: CBI (2006) Market Survey - The Honey and Beeswax Markets in the EU

It is known that African honey is imported into UK, Germany and Poland, but volumes are very low. As the EU does not include all European countries, summaries of EU data may exclude some countries such as Switzerland.

United States of America

The American Honey Producers Association and the United States Department of Agriculture produce frequent updates about the world honey market and how it relates to USA imports.  The following graph shows the major honey importers into the US, January to October 2008.  Canada is a significant supplier of honey to the USA followed by Vietnam, Argentina, Brazil and India. African imports into the US are insignificant coming only from Egypt and Morocco.

External links

USDA National Honey Report (includes import data) click here

American Honey Producers Association produce market updates with import statistics click here

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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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