Honey stoush

Countryman - - WA FARMERS -

The stoush be­tween Aus­tralia and New Zealand honey pro­duc­ers reignited re­cently, with honey pro­duc­ers from both coun­tries be­ing in­volved in dis­cus­sions re­gard­ing the trade­mark­ing of Manuka honey.

De­spite be­ing pro­duced by bees for­ag­ing on Lep­tosper­mum plants, which are na­tive to both coun­tries, de­bate is rag­ing be­tween the two as to the nam­ing rights.

At the same time as the de­vel­op­ment of new na­tional honey body, the Aus­tralian Manuka Honey As­so­ci­a­tion, last month, New Zealand pro­duc­ers were re­port­edly ap­ply­ing for ex­clu­sive trade­marks in five coun­tries, in­clud­ing Aus­tralia and China.

WAFarm­ers Bee­keep­ers Sec­tion pres­i­dent Leilani Ley­land said there was a need for Aus­tralia to pro­tect its mar­kets. “Manuka honey is a sought-af­ter prod­uct around the world,” she said.

“Re­gard­less of the fact that Aus­tralia has more than 80 species of Lep­tosper­mum plants and New Zealand has fewer than five, this is not about pit­ting the coun­tries against each other — it is about se­cur­ing our trade op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“Given there is such high de­mand for this prod­uct across the globe, we hope that the New Zealand ap­pli­ca­tion does not pass as it has the po­ten­tial to lock us out of prime mar­kets.

“Should this oc­cur, Aus­tralian bee­keep­ers will ob­vi­ously con­tinue to pro­duce this honey, which is en­joyed by mil­lions of peo­ple around the world; it will just need to be mar­keted un­der a dif­fer­ent name that con­sumers might not be so fa­mil­iar with.”

Mrs Ley­land said it was tes­ta­ment to the im­por­tance of the is­sue to the api­ary in­dus­try that there was a wide range of rep­re­sen­ta­tives on the AMHA board, in­clud­ing api­arists, sci­en­tists and pro­ces­sors.

Pic­ture: Irina Tis­chenko

Bees at work.

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