Ascania-Pack, part of the Ascania muti-profile Ukrainian holding, has started exporting honey to Saudi Arabia.
According to a company press release on Monday, the first batch of 12.2 tonnes was shipped in December.
“Saudi Arabia has become the eighteenth country in the world where the company exports cream honey for the retail market, including the United States, Canada, Singapore, Iraq, Qatar, as well as European countries,” the company said.
Ascania-Pack is a large Ukrainian exporter of honey, has its own production, which allows processing more than 20,000 tonnes of honey per year.
Ascania-Pack, part of the multi-profile Ukrainian holding Ascania, in January-November 2019 reduced production and export of honey by 20% compared to the same period last year, to 5,200 tonnes due to export of packaged honey and the uncertainty of prices, development director of Ascania-Pack Viktor Ivanchenko has said.
“For 11 months of 2018, the company exported and actually produced 6,500 tonnes of honey, for the same period in 2019 some 5,200 tonnes. The reduction in volumes was due to uncertain prices and export prospects in the second half of the year. We did not know whether the price will grow or fall, but we didn’t want to play roulette. In addition, we focused on export of packaged honey. From the point of view of added value, this is much more interesting,” he said.
Ivanchenko noted that over the 11 months of this year, Ascania-Pack exported three times more packaged honey compared to the entire last year and plans to increase these volumes both in the domestic and foreign markets.
“We have determined for ourselves the volume of bulk exports, which is sufficient for us. Now we focus on the sale of packaged honey in the domestic market and on export. Today we export more packaged honey than we sell in the domestic market. This year we we’ll export about 130 tonnes of packaged honey. But we would like the share of packaged honey to be at least 25%, and then 50% of the total production,” he said.
Ascania-Pack supplies packaged honey to 14 countries in Europe, Asia, the United States, and Canada and is constantly working on expanding its export geography. In addition, the company received Halal certificate in 2018 and plans to receive Kosher next year.
The Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine has approved mandatory requirements for honey, which will come in force in six months, on February 6, 2020.
According to a report on the ministry’s website, its order No. 330 dated June 19, 2019 and officially published on August 6 harmonizes Ukrainian legislation with European legislation regarding honey requirements. The document will improve the regulatory framework for the labeling, production and sale of honey.
The ministry said that voluntary application of the approved requirements is envisaged until January 1, 2023, which will allow market operators to prepare for new requirements.
The document divides honey by origin into nectar (flower) and honeydew, by the method of production into honeycomb, honeycombs in honey, honey, centrifugalized and pressed honey.
The labeling requirements indicate that the package of honey should contain information about the country of origin, the label of honey for confectionery products along with its name it should be indicated that it is intended only for products to be processed.
Ukraine as of July 22 had fully used quotas for duty-free exports of agricultural products to the EU on nine groups of goods, including honey, sugar, cereals and flour, processed starch, processed tomatoes, grape and apple juice, wheat, corn, and butter. According to a press release from the Ukrainian Agribusiness Club (UAC), the pace of quota use and revival of trade with the EU is noticeably accelerating, as on the same date last year seven quotas for duty-free exports from Ukraine to the EU were used.
“Potentially, quotas for barley (79% are now used), poultry (75%), malt and wheat gluten (58%), and starch (53%) will be used by the end of the year,” the association noted.
The UAC said additional quotas for eight groups of goods come in force from October 2017 for a period of three years: for honey, flour and cereals, processed tomatoes, grape and apple juice, oats, corn, wheat, and barley. As of July 22, five of the additional quotas were used: for honey, cereals, juice, wheat, and corn.
Ukraine last year cut honey export by 27%, to 49,500 tonnes and lost positions in the global rating list of honey exporters, national consultant to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Ann Burka has said.
“The last 2018 year can be called a watershed year for the Ukrainian honey market. In fact, until last year, the industry, which showed annual growth in honey exports, faced a series of challenges in 2018. The search for solutions to some of them continues to this day. On one side, vast amounts of killed bees, affecting all regions, and on the other side, price battles that unfolded in the second half of the year, which “contributed” to a 27% reduction in honey exports from Ukraine and led to a loss of market share in several European countries and the United States,” she wrote on her page in the Facebook social network.
According to the FAO consultant, as a result, Ukraine dropped in the world ranking of exporters of these products from third place in 2017 (share 10%) to fifth place with a share of 7% in 2018.
“And while Ukraine was losing its position in the foreign market, competitors were actively increasing their export volumes, occupying a vacant niche. Export volumes from India in 2018 increased 10% compared with 2017, Mexico doubled, Argentina also saw growth,” Burka said.
She added that in general, the volume of globla trade in honey in 2018 decreased 3% in kind and 7% in value, reaching 689,000 tonnes, or $2.23 billion.
“Icing on the cake: according to ITC estimates, the unrealized export potential of honey on a global scale is estimated at $1.6 billion, so, Ukraine has room to grow,” the FAO consultant said.
Ukraine ranks fifth in the world in terms of honey production and is the leader in its production in Europe, Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Ivanna Klympush-Tsintsadze’s office has said.
“Our country produces more than 100,000 tonnes per year, that is 6% of the world’s honey [output]. Today there are about 400,000 beekeepers with 4 million beehives in Ukraine,” it said on Facebook.
The office notes that the main producers of honey are eight regions: Vinnytsia, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhia, Zhytomyr, Mykolaiv, Poltava, and Kirovohrad, which account for 70% of Ukrainian honey supplied to 35 countries.
“Most of the produce is exported by Ukraine to the United States, Germany, Poland, and France. In 2017, over 50,000 tonnes of honey was delivered to the EU countries alone (this includes over 5,000 tonnes within a duty-free quota),” the report said.