Honey is often refered to as "the only food that never spoils". There have been (unverified) claims of archeologists digging out 2000-5000 year-old jars of honey from sites in Egypt and Georgia. And today specialized honey's are counted among the most expensive foods in the world.
In 2014, a small consignment of Elvish honey from remote caves in Turkey sold in France for about USD 6,800/kg!
How does India fare in the world of honey exports?
According to APEDA, India exported 29,578.52 MT of natural honey to the world for Rs. 535.07 crore during the year of 2014-15. This comes to just ₹ 180/kg ($ 2.7)!
It is worth noting that we export almost no honey to Europe. In 2014, the European Union imported more than 315,000 tonnes of honey, most of which came from China. Despite all the barriers erected by EU, there does not seem to be much of a cost advantage here. Chinese honey costs just ₹ 20/kg more than Indian exports.
The amazing thing that emergers from these numbers is that the export value of Indian honey is far below the cost at which it retails within India!
Why do Indian exporters sell honey to the Arabs for ₹ 180/kg when they can get ₹ 600 to 900/kg in the domestic retail market? Or was I missing something here?
According to my friend H, the missing element here is Volumes. When it comes to getting agriculture commodities to the markets, one of the most important things to consider is scale of operations. Just as Indian honey is exported for a fraction of its domstic price, Basmati rice too earns our exporters pretty thin margins compared to the domestic market.
REFERENCES & LINKS
The Chemistry of Honey - http://www.compoundchem.com/2014/08/21/chemistryofhoney/
10 most expensive foods in the world - http://www.worldfoodist.com/2013/01/25/the-worlds-most-expensive-foods/
Oddity Central - most expensive honey in the world - http://www.odditycentral.com/foods/worlds-most-expensive-honey-costs-as-much-as-a-small-car.html
- Elvish honey from Turkey - $ 6,800 / kg
World's top-5 honey - http://www.justfoodnow.com/2010/12/22/honey-the-five-best-in-the-world/
BeezHoney India - http://www.beezhoney.com/
Yemeni Hone - http://www.honey-foryourhealth.com/the-worlds-most-expensive-honey-and-why-you-should-run-to-buy-this---yemeni-honey.html
Yemeni Sidr Honey - quality page - http://www.yemensidrhoney.com/index.php/quality-safety
USA - honey.com - http://www.honey.com/
Wikipedia on Honey - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey
- Certifications: HACCP (Hazard Analysis for Critical Control Points) - http://www.22000-tools.com/what-is-haccp.html
- ISO 22000 - for food safety - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO_22000
- (IT, 2010) - Contaminated Honey in India -- http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/unhealthy-bitter-truths-about-honey-in-india/1/112833.html
. Only Hitkari was found to be free of antibiotics
Trade Stats - Honey in Europe (2015) - https://www.cbi.eu/sites/default/files/trade-statistics-europe-honey-2015.pdf
- APEDA Honey exports - http://apeda.gov.in/apedawebsite/SubHead_Products/Natural_Honey.htm
. exported 29,578.52 MT of natural honey to the world for the worth of Rs. 535.07 crore during the year of 2014-15.
- Myth-buster - no honey in ancient Egyptian tombs - http://bumblehive.com/honey-was-not-found-in-pharaohs-tombs/