Tassie fights trade­mark st­ing

Tasmanian Country - - NEWS -

A NA­TIONAL cam­paign spear­headed by a honey pro­ducer in Tas­ma­nia’s North-West is gain­ing wings as bee­keep­ers band to­gether to stop New Zealand pro­duc­ers trade­mark­ing the word Manuka.

Manuka honey, de­rived from the tea tree (Lep­tosper­mum) na­tive to Tas­ma­nia, can re­tail for as much as $120 a jar and is deemed a health prod­uct due to its an­tibac­te­rial prop­er­ties.

There are five com­mer­cial Manuka honey pro­duc­ers in Tas­ma­nia and a num­ber of smaller op­er­a­tions that pro­vide them with the liq­uid gold.

In re­sponse to the trade­mark ap­pli­ca­tion in NZ, the Aus­tralian honey in­dus­try has col­lec­tively formed the Aus­tralian Manuka Honey As­so­ci­a­tion to for­mally op­pose any at­tempts to mo­nop­o­lise in­ter­na­tional nam­ing or mar­ket rights.

Tas­ma­nian Bee­keep­ers As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Lind­say Bourke chaired the in­au­gu­ral meet­ing of the AMHA and says lo­cal bee­keep­ers would be “stick­ing it to” the New Zealan­ders to en­sure their bid does not suc­ceed.

“Manuka is a generic name and can­not be hi­jacked by honey pro­duc­ers across the Tas­man. We have en­gaged le­gal help and are lob­by­ing and have gained the sup­port of the Aus­tralian Govern­ment,” Mr Bourke said.

He said the world­wide de­mand for Manuka honey was al­most in­sa­tiable.

“It is a great niche prod­uct for Tas­ma­nian pro­duc­ers. Years ago it was re­garded as rub­bish but now the world can­not get enough and we are not go­ing to let NZ sab­o­tage that for us,” Mr Bourke said.

Ni­cola Charles, of Blue Hills Honey at Maw­banna, which has been pro­duc­ing Manuka honey for nine years, spear­headed the cam­paign to pro­tect the name.

“The New Zealan­ders have no case,” she said. “But we could take a leaf out of their book though, and learn to pro­mote and mar­ket our­selves and what we pro­duce bet­ter.”

AMHA chair­man Paul Cal­lan­der said it was amus­ing that the one Lep­tosper­mum species used in NZ to pro­duce Manuka honey had been shown to have mi­grated from Aus­tralia — most likely Tas­ma­nia.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.