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How sweet it is: Turkish pine honey producers eyeing wider market

01/11/2019
  • More than 90 percent of the world’s pine honey comes from Turkey
  • Supported by FAO and EBRD, industry leaders announced plans to certify Turkish pine honey at EU level
  • Certified pine honey can open up new markets, improve sector efficiency and revitalize local economies

 

Turkey produces the lion’s share of the world’s pine honey – a sweet and spicy, dark and resinous honey - and is home to one-fifth of the world’s 25 bee sub-species.

The country is keen to register this unique honey with a geographical indication (GI) at European Union level – a move that will likely increase exports, improve efficiency along the supply chain and revitalize local economies.

A seminar organized under the FAO/EBRD initiative to increase the efficiency, sustainability and inclusiveness of Turkey’s honey sector gathered Turkey’s major pine honey industry players – beekeepers, processors, exporters, government officials, scientists – to agree on how to move this forward together.

Unlike flower honey, pine honey is produced by bees that collect honeydew from a scale insect species – Marchalina hellenica – that lives on the sap of certain pine trees.

Most of Turkey’s pine honey comes from the Muğla province in the South Aegean region. Protecting and promoting pine honey from Muğla could open up new market opportunities in Turkey and abroad and bring more local beekeepers into the supply chain.

The global market for GI foods is lucrative, totalling around EUR 50 billion a year in trade. Consumers worldwide are increasingly willing to pay a premium for products that represent quality and authenticity.

Pine honey certified by TURKPATENT and the European Union would protect Turkey’s pine honey from fakes on the market. It would enhance coordination and build trust along the supply chain – from producers and processors to wholesalers, retailers and consumers. It would also provide even greater incentive to protect the region’s unique biodiversity, especially the pine forests and Marchalina hellenica, and local know-how.

Building a consortium among Turkey’s pine honey industry players around the GI, including Balparmak, one of the country’s leading honey companies, will only strengthen the industry by improving quality, strengthening the bargaining power and encouraging innovation.

Earlier, FAO and the EBRD brought a group of 20 pine honey stakeholders to Turkey’s Bursa region. There they learned how their peers have organized themselves to certify and manage the GIs for the Bursa Black fig, Bursa peach and Gemlik olives.

Successful GIs can pave the way for other producers to register and market GI products that cater to local tourist and export markets alike. With today’s event, Turkey’s pine honey industry is well on its way.

This Seminar is supported by the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund (Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the USA).