Turkish pine honey producers eye wider market, apply for geographical indication

By Olga Rosca
@olgarosca

Turkey produces the lion’s share of the world’s pine honey – a sweet and spicy, dark and resinous honey - and is home to one-fifth of the world’s 25 bee sub-species.

  • More than 90 per cent of the world’s pine honey comes from Turkey
  • Supported by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the EBRD, industry leaders announced plans to certify Turkish pine honey at EU level
  • Production of certified pine honey can open up new markets, improve sector efficiency and revitalise local economies

Turkey produces the lion’s share of the world’s pine honey – a sweet and spicy, dark and resinous honey - and is home to one-fifth of the world’s honey bee subspecies.

The country is keen to register this unique honey with a geographical indication (GI) at European Union level – a move that is likely to increase exports, improve efficiency along the supply chain and revitalise local economies.

A seminar organised under an initiative by the FAO and EBRD to increase the efficiency, sustainability and inclusiveness of Turkey’s honey sector gathered the country’s major pine-honey industry players – beekeepers, processors, exporters, government officials and scientists – to agree on how to achieve this together.

Unlike flower honey, pine honey is produced by bees that collect honeydew from a scale-insect species – Marchalina hellenica – that lives on the sap of certain pine trees.

Most of Turkey’s pine honey comes from the Muğla province in the South Aegean region. Protecting and promoting pine honey from Muğla could open up new market opportunities in Turkey and abroad and bring more local beekeepers into the supply chain.

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The global market for GI foods is lucrative, totalling around €50 billion a year in trade. Consumers worldwide are increasingly willing to pay a premium for products that represent quality and authenticity.

Pine honey certified by TŰRKPATENT and the European Union would protect Turkey’s pine honey from fakes on the market. It would enhance coordination and build trust along the supply chain – from producers and processors to wholesalers, retailers and consumers. It would also provide an even greater incentive to protect the region’s unique biodiversity, especially the pine forests and Marchalina hellenica, and to support local know-how.

Building a consortium among Turkey’s pine-honey industry players around the GI, including Balparmak, one of the country’s leading honey firms, will only strengthen the industry by improving quality, strengthening bargaining power and encouraging innovation.

Earlier, FAO and the EBRD brought a group of 20 pine honey stakeholders to Turkey’s Bursa region. There, they learned how their peers have organised themselves to certify and manage the GIs for the Bursa black fig, Bursa peach and Gemlik olives.

Successful GIs can pave the way for other producers to register and market GI products that cater to local tourist and export markets alike. With today’s event, Turkey’s pine honey industry is well on its way.

This seminar is backed by the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund (supported by ItalyJapan, LuxembourgSouth KoreaSwedenSwitzerland, Taipei China and the United States of America).

 

EBRD-FAO Bursa figs and peaches video: