Apiculture

Honey producers abuzz over promising harvest

[5 December/ Radio NZ] Apiculture New Zealand Chief Executive, Karin Kos said this year’s honey production season was shaping up to be one of the best in years, primarily due to the warmer weather. Ms Kos explained that it was a complete turnaround from last year’s poor season where Comvita’s profits halved to just under...

Ngai Tahu’s Watson & Son confident on comeback after $20 million loss

[16 November/National Business Review] Manuka honey firm Watson & Son reported a $20 million loss for the year ended 30 June 2017, after making a $4.6 million profit the previous year. This contributed to a $9 million deficit for parent Ngai Tahu Capital, owned by Ngai Tahu Holdings. Ngai Tahu Holdings Chief Executive Mike Sang...

Study uncovers puzzling case of insecticides in New Zealand honey

[27 October/Stuff] Four samples of New Zealand honey tested positive for neonicotinoids, a class of insecticides, in a global study by Swiss Biology Professor Edward Mitchell. The findings are not in keeping with Ministry of Primary Industries testing, which found no traces of neonicotinoids in honey for sale. Mr Mitchell said the concentrations detected in...

Comvita lifts 2018 earnings outlook

[18 October/New Zealand Herald] Comvita Chief executive Scott Coulter has confirmed a rise in the company’s 2018 earnings outlook after a solid recovery of the so-called grey channel into China and significant North American sales. The Te Puke-based company’s first-quarter sales rose 35 percent from a year earlier and were tracking ahead of budget. Comvita...

One million beehives likely by Christmas

[6 October/ New Zealand Herald] The number of beehives in New Zealand is expected to reach one million by Christmas. Dunedin Beekeepers’ Club President Brian Pilley said there had been a large increase in the hobby over the past two to three years, however, urges those interested in hobby beekeeping to ensure they have the...

Apiculture career programme has excited cadets buzzing

[2 October/ New Zealand Herald] Avril Pehi, 16, and Robert O’Brien, 21, began cadetships at Comvita’s Kiwi Bee Whanganui apiary in 2016 and have achieved national certificates in apiculture level 3 through Comvita’s Building Better Beekeeping cadet programme. The two aspiring beekeepers are halfway through the programme. Mr Pehi and Mr O’Brien are two of...

Massey University research advises planting mānuka varieties flowering when bees are active

[22 September/ Stuff] Farmers are being encouraged to put in the right plants the flower at the best time for bee activity to prevent disappointment for those who have put in mānuka that flowers before bees are most active. Massey University, Senior Lecturer in Agronomy, James Millner said anyone interested in producing mānuka honey should...

Thefts of honey, hives on the rise

[14 September/ Rural News Group] Apiculture New Zealand Chief Executive, Karin Kos said that the theft of honey and beehives was a growing issue for beekeepers, with police now taking the increase in thefts very seriously. Apiculture NZ and the police are working together on improving intelligence at national and regional levels, and are educating...

Comvita beats earnings guidance, upbeat about FY18

[22 August/The Country] Natural health products company, Comvita, saw its shares jump 10% after it beat full year guidance and said it expects to return to profit in the current financial year. The company which uses Manuka honey a core ingredient, reported an after tax operating loss of $5.5 million for the year to June...

Those trying to define what makes NZ’s manuka honey special struggle to agree

[4 August/ Stuff] Comvita has proposed a manuka honey definition, as the bee industry attempts to develop a standard to ensure the product is not fraudulent. The Ministry for Primary Industries is creating a definition among competing industry claims over the best method to determine real honey. This comes after claims that consumers are being...

Manuka honey definition timeframe extended

[7 July/ Rural News Group] The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) has extended time to review submissions to its consultation on the definition of Manuka honey. The number and complexity of submissions have caused the Ministry to add six to eight weeks into the process to ensure all feedback is thoroughly reviewed. The Government has...

Australian honey challenge to NZ Mānuka

[27 June/ Radio NZ] Australian scientists have developed a process for authenticating a West Australian honey from the state’s jarrah and marri trees as having medicinal properties to rival mānuka. The scientists said their Western Australian honey has higher levels of antimicrobial activity than New Zealand Mānuka honey, and they plan to put it on...

Comvita says manuka at low risk from myrtle rust

[29 June/ Stuff] Comvita has said Myrtle rust does not pose a large risk to the multi-million dollar mānuka honey industry and was reassured by the way the disease had not damaged equivalent plants in Australia, especially in Tasmania. In 2016, the honey industry made $315 million in exports, mostly from mānuka. The industry has...

‘From NZ’ bee pollen seller stung with $500,000 fine

[19 May/ Radio NZ] A health supplement company, Topline International – which sold pollen under the NatureBee brand, claimed its China-made bee pollen was a product of New Zealand, and has been ordered to pay a $500,000 fine after being brought to court by the Commerce Commission. Topline had been taking advantage of New Zealand’s...

New tests confirm New Zealand manuka honey is for real

 [17 May/ Stuff] Two new tests confirming whether New Zealand mānuka honey is the real deal have been released by Hills Laboratories, giving consumers greater confidence that they are buying genuine mānuka honey. The tests come after claims that unethical operators were profiting from sales of fake mānuka honey at largely inflated prices. The Ministry...

Comvita shares slump 9.4pc on Deutsche Bank downgrade, news of Myrtle Rust

 [5 May/ New Zealand Herald] Comvita shares decreased 9.4 percent due to investment analysts cutting their valuation for the mānuka honey products company. The shares fell as low as $6.07 in early trading last Friday, a record low since January 23, and recently decreased to $6.25 after Deutsche Bank decreased its stock price target to...

Beekeepers struggle to get unstuck from mānuka red tape

 [13 April/ Radio NZ] The Ministry for Primary Industries has issued a scientific definition of New Zealand mānuka honey, expected to protect the market from fake products. The definition states honey is New Zealand mānuka honey when four chemicals and a DNA marker are present at a specified level. A six-week consultation period will now...

Comvita adds to growing list of earnings woes

[5 April/ NZ Herald] After honey maker Comvita fell short of market expectations and announced it was likely to fall into operating loss in the current financial year, investors have left the brand. The company attributes the loss to a poor harvest and trouble in the unofficial daigou trade channels with China, expecting to bring...

New Zealand manuka honey favourite in Asia

[2 April/ Stuff] 100% Pure New Zealand Honey boasts a stronger presence in Asian markets than western markets due to the importance Asian consumers place on preventive medicine. Chief executive Sean Goodwin commented on the difficulty of selling manuka honey in China as low regulations mean other honey types are passed off as manuka. The...

Millions of Manuka seedlings released to boost honey industry

[8 March/ Stuff] Landowners are being offered high performance Manuka seedlings that could earn up to $4300 per hectare annually. Some predict the honey sector could become a $1.2 billion a year industry by 2028 with the help of wholesale plantings. However, Commercial Manager for Manuka Farming New Zealand, Stephen Lee, said the $4300 figure...

Comvita blames bad honey crop for $7.1m half year loss

 [21 February/ Radio New Zealand] New Zealand’s largest honey producer, Comvita, is blaming China exports and a bad honey crop for the $7.1 million loss it has reported for the half year. Wet, cold and windy conditions at the beginning of the season caused Comvita to decrease its honey production forecast from 974 tonnes to...

Hives on track with BuzzTech

[ 20 February/ The New Zealand Farmers Weekly] IT expert turned beekeeper and BuzzTech director, Julian McCurdy has created a software solution that gives apiarists the option to include high-quality sensors and monitors into their hive colonies, making it easier to track thousands of hives typically spanning hundreds of kilometres. The software creates the potential...

Kiwi exporters face trouble in China

 [17 February/ New Zealand Herald] New Zealand exporters including New Zealand’s biggest honey makers, Comvita and Manuka Health as well as Tasmanian infant formula company Bellamy’s, have seen tough business conditions due to a slowdown of Chinese “daigou” channel. The daigou channel offers manufacturers a “toehold” into the Chinese market and has been extensively utilised...

Queen’s grocer pulls New Zealand manuka honey from shelves

[5 February/ Business Day] Fortnum and Mason, the grocer to the Queen in London, has pulled New Zealand Manuka honey from its shelves when tests showed it had lower than expected levels of the active ingredient, leptosperin.  Food Safety Minister, David Bennett, said that the government was introducing pollen DNA testing on honey exports in...