Apiculture New Zealand has successfully secured funding from the Ministry for Primary Industries’ (MPI’s) Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures fund, for a two-year project that will help identify how the New Zealand apiculture sector can achieve sustainable growth.

“The aim of the project is to establish a strategic direction for the apiculture sector by identifying actionable measures to enable sustainable value growth. This will be driven by a shared purpose, derived from engagement with all participants in the sector,” says Karin Kos, CE Apiculture NZ.

“The sector experienced huge growth following the quick escalation in demand from international consumers for New Zealand’s mānuka honey. But in many ways the sector’s response to meet that new demand has been unsustainable. Now is the time to understand how we can capitalise on the opportunities that have emerged, but at a rate that can be lasting, both for participants and the environment. Apiculture NZ welcomes the Government’s support to help us realise that goal,” says Ms Kos.

The work will look at opportunities to capture more value at all levels of the sector and understand what type of transformation, capability and innovation will be required to capture that value sustainably.

The funding will not only help to prepare a plan but support the initial implementation of projects deemed to be vital to delivering sustainable growth.

“This project will be the first step towards re-invigorating the apiculture sector by strengthening collaboration and establishing a new strategic direction,” says Steve Penno, MPI’s Director of Investment Programmes.

“Understanding the sustainability of beekeeping as a profession, including the production of honey and provision of pollination services, will be at the forefront of this project. New Zealand’s reputation for the high trust and quality in our honey comes from those who produce it,” says Ms Kos.

About the project

Among the outcomes, ApiNZ seeks to identify where the market opportunities lie for all New Zealand honeys, and what a sustainable level of honey production looks like to meet the anticipated demand. This will help inform how we optimise the sector’s collective economic resources while minimising the impact of production on the environment.

ApiNZ will engage widely with stakeholders across the country to help determine how the sector can overcome current limitations. MPI is contributing $225,000 to the project, with the total project cost anticipated to be $383,500. The remaining balance is funded by cash contributions from Comvita, Manuka Health and the Honey Industry Trust, together with in-kind contributions from the sector.