Even though there are twice as many bee colonies now as there were 30 years ago, beekeepers were only able to produce just as much honey as they did three decades ago. According to Péter Bross, the representative of the Hungarian Beekeepers Association, this means that the price of honey is going to rise steeply.
Bross Péter was the guest of Inforádió’s Aréna programme and gave an interview about the dire situation. This year especially, far less honey was produced in Hungary, but the situation seems to be the same in all of Europe. Buying the honey directly from beekeepers or producers could cost 2,500-2,700 forints (~€7.5-8) per kilogram of acacia honey, while mixed flower honey could cost around 2,000 forints (~€6) for each kilogram. Péter added that these are just estimates and that prices can greatly vary depending on supply and demand in each region.
“Those who know exactly what value they took from their hive might go over 3,000 forints (~€9) per kilogram for their acacia honey. Other types of honey are typically between 2-3,000 forints (~€6-9).”
He explains that beekeepers have plenty of expenses to account for when determining the price of a jar of honey. Although it is possible for store-bought honey to cost the same as a jar from a local producer, it is likely that it will cost much more. The VAT is much higher when you buy from stores, and the shop owner has to have some profit as well. This could shoot up consumer prices of acacia honey as high as 4,000 forints (~€12).
But how much honey did Hungary actually produce? The answer is only 5-8,000 tonnes of acacia and 5-10,000 tonnes of flower honey. Bross Péter, the representative of the Hungarian Beekeepers Association, says that 2020 was an extremely bad year for both Hungarian and European beekeepers.
He highlights two possible reasons: one is the unfavourable weather conditions of this year while the other is the condition of the colonies of bees in Hungary.
According to Péter, the number of colonies 30 years ago was 500-600,000 in Hungary, and they produced approximately 20-25,000 tonnes of honey. The worst part is that there are currently 1.2 million colonies in Hungary, and they produce the same amount or even less than the colonies did three decades ago.
The expert said that currently, honey export is thriving as the yield is very poor in every part of Europe. They ship 1,500-2,000 tonnes of honey from Hungary every month, and this is where the situation might go south.
For the first time in history, there is a possibility that there will be no honey left in Hungary in the first quarter of next year.