Chilean honey exports increase 35% in January – February 2011

Germany, France and the United Kingdom import the largest quantities of honey, most of which is currently produced in Chile’s central mountain region.

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Chile’s central valley is well known for its wine, fruits and vegetables. Now, having registered 35 percent growth in exports in Jan-Feb according to the Office of Agricultural Studies and Policies (Odepa), honey may just be Chile’s next gastronomic ambassador. Reaching total revenue of US$3.5 million in Jan-Feb 2011, the increase over the same period in 2010 is due in part to rising honey prices overseas. According to the director of Odepa, Gustavo Rojas, “international honey prices continue to rise as a result of reduced supply from major exporters, particularly Argentina, where drought has reduced the productivity of nectar sources.” Chile has significantly increased the volume of its honey exports as well, growing by 24 percent in the course of the last 12 months to a total of 965 tons. The median price of the honey exported was US$3.52 per kg, an increase of nine percent from the previous year. The vast majority of the honey exported is currently finding its way to Europe, with almost 81 percent imported by Germany, 15 percent by France, and 4 percent by the United Kingdom. Mountains in Chile’s central zone saw the largest increases in productivity, considerable enough to compensate for decreases in productivity in the southern valleys, which were most affected by the Feb. 27 earthquake in 2010. The honey industry also hopes to see developments in crops originating south of Bío Bío, an area of growing interest for industries historically based in the central valleys farther north, including Chile’s ever-burgeoning boutique wine industry.