September 22, 2015
New Free Trade Agreement Could Bring Evans Head Honey to Chinese Shores
Demand for Manuka honey is growing in China, so much so that large honey producers are buying up small operations throughout Australia and New Zealand to help meet the demand. Recently, Capilano Honey purchased Kirksbees, an Evans Head based honey business, solely for its Manuka honey production. The business was purchased for a whopping $6 million and Capilano’s sales director, Peter McDonald, said the price is worth being able to fulfill the demands of the Chinese market.
According to an article posted on ABC.net.au, trade tariffs and trade agreements have been limiting the amount of Manuka honey that can be exported to China but, according to McDonald, once those tariffs have been reduced, Capilano plans to increase its exports of Manuka honey exponentially. "We're very optimistic about sales growth once the [Free Trade Agreement] is signed. Australia and New Zealand are the two premium market suppliers of honey into China," McDonald said.
"New Zealand has already got a zero percent tariff because they already have a [Free Trade Agreement] with China, so we're hopeful the [Free Trade Agreement] is passed [for Australia] so we see some tariff reduction," McDonald explained. These two factors are crucial for not only Capilano’s ability to sell Manuka honey to China, but also to other large honey producers across the country of Australia.
The demand for Manuka honey is being felt in China and across the world. As more scientific research emerges regarding the health benefits of this “super food,” more and more countries want to have the honey on grocery store shelves. The demand is so great it is driving up the price of Manuka honey – which has almost doubled over the last few years – and is putting a strain on beekeepers to keep up with production among honeybee population issues, such as Colony Collapse Disorder.
"Manuka is the fastest growing honey variant across the world, but Australia and New Zealand are the only two countries that produce Manuka honey, which makes it quite exclusive," said McDonald. The exclusivity only adds to the demand that producers are seeing for Manuka honey and, with the demand as high as it is today, there is money on the table for companies like Capilano to make as long as tariffs and Free Trade Agreements do not stand in their way.