During the upcoming years, 4.7 million euros will be available for the development of beekeeping, 20 percent more than the current level of funding, primarily for the modernisation of technology and equipment, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Parliamentary State Secretary announced on Tuesday in Dunavarsány at the inauguration of a honey packaging plant owned by a family business.

István Nagy said in his speech that the some 20 thousand tons of domestic honey produced each year puts Hungary among the frontrunners on the European honey market, with some 40 percent of the honey traded within the European Union being produced in Hungary. In view of its guaranteed high quality, Hungarian honey is much sought after on foreign markets and the country’s GMO-free status further increases the value of domestic honey.

DownloadFotó: Pelsőczy Csaba

The sector, which generates annual revenues of 20 billion forints (EUR 65.4 million), plays an important role in the population retention capacity of rural areas and provides a secure living for some 15 thousand families. However, further growth is hindered by the fact that bee density in Hungary is very high, with some 12 bee families per hectare and total numbers approaching one million. Only Greece has higher figures in this respect, the State Secretary noted.

DownloadFotó: Pelsőczy Csaba

Mr. Nagy indicated that one important objective was to at least double the current 0.5-1.0 kilogram per year level of domestic honey consumption, because this unique foodstuff is an extremely important constituent of healthy nutrition, he pointed out.

Ferenc Takács, owner and Managing Director of Aranynektár (“Golden Nectar”) Limited, which employs 50 people and produces 4 thousand tons of honey per year, said that the family enterprise had invested 350 million forints of its own resources in the business. They have developed a production line and associated laboratory with which they are capable of handling up to 300-400 kilogram lots of honey produced by a single beekeeper separately and packaging it in specially labelled bottled or plastic dispensers. These unique products are more sought-after on export markets and can be marketed at higher prices, he noted.

According to calculations, the investment will have paid for itself within 5 years. The company achieved gross turnover of HUF 3.5bn (EUR 11.5 million) last year and posted profits of 200 million forints, Mr. Takács told reporters.