Ugandan honey production might be increasing but the option of exporting is still far from many processors` minds owing to the conditions tied to exporting it to the European Union.
Statistics continue to show that Uganda`s honey production has more than doubled in the past few years to 500,000 metric tonnes in 2012, up from between 100,000 to 200,000 metric tonnes of honey per year in 2003. But this could be just a minimal figure according to experts.
However, honey export volumes have not changed despite the increasing number of players in the sector. This, according to Mr Bosco Okello, the Apitrade executive director, is due to increasing demand of honey and other hive products on the local market.
Mr Okello said, “Most of the honey is being consumed in homesteads and local markets which are willing to pay the price for honey. Yet the international market demands for several conditions which most suppliers cannot meet.”
Information from the Ministry of Agriculture indicates about 12,000 metric tonnes of tradable honey were harvested last year, generating Shs105 billion ($38.4 million) much of this was locally consumed.
While the cost of a kilogramme of honey ranges from Shs15,000 to Shs25,000 at farm gate price in Uganda depending on the season and region, the same is valued between Shs13,900 ($5) and Shs25,000 ($9) on the international market.
Mr George Mugula, the managing director of Bee House products ltd, said, “The international market demands a lot yet offers little profit. Considering the stringent conditions for export ranging from carrying out laboratory tests which are very expensive, acquiring ISO certification, clearances from the relevant ministries, then shipping and insurance costs, it’s just a lot of work.”
That is what has prompted local honey suppliers to look to the domestic market. “Normally, any entrepreneur would love to export. But there is just a small profit, so I better concentrate on satisfying the growing local market,” says Mr Robert Okodia, a bee keeper and supplier of Aryodi Bee farm.
However, some experts and players blame the export volumes on low production and poor quality issues.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor