27 Jun 2012

Bee industry's importance need more recognition - Guy

2:02 pm on 27 June 2012

The Associate Minister for Primary Industries says the importance of the beekeeping industry to New Zealand needs greater recognition.

Nathan Guy told the National Beekeepers Conference in Napier the industry's profile has improved.

But he says more needs to be done to make people aware of the huge contribution bees make to the local and export economies.

"Honey exports are worth around $100 million annually, in addition to substantial domestic market earnings.

"Bee pollination is crucial to many parts of the rural economy including kiwifruit, avocados, apples, berryfruit and, of course, clover-based pasture."

Mr Guy referred to a recent report from KPMG that surveyed 98 rural leaders, saying one of the top five priorities was to encourage industry-wide collaboration to find sustainable solutions to secure the long-term economic contribution made by New Zealand's bee population.

Mr Guy also told producers and marketers of manuka honey have been told to set aside their differences and work more closely together.

He told the conference that disagreements in the industry over manuka honey branding and standards need to stop, so the credibility of the product doesn't suffer.