The international scenario remains favorable to Brazilian honey. Despite the obstacles, such as the European embargo, figures are still positive. In May this year, the country exported approximately US$ 3.208 million and 1.987 million kilograms. This result represents a 62.9% increase in terms of value, and a 68.9% increase in terms of weight, compared with the same period of 2006.
The value of honey exports in May was also the highest recorded in the last 31 months, an increase of 25.4% in value and 18.8% in weight, compared with April this year (US$ 2.559 million and 1.673 million kilograms).
Furthermore, the revenues (US$ 8.891 million) and volume (5.695 million kilograms) of honey exports in the first five months this year has surpassed total shipments in the same period of 2006.
These figures appear in a survey conducted by the consultants at the Agribusiness Unit at the Brazilian Micro and Small Business Support Service (Sebrae) and by national managers at the Sustainable Integrated Beekeeping Network (Rede Apis), Alzira Vieira and Reginaldo Resende.
According to the survey, from January to May this year, the six largest Brazilian exporter states were: São Paulo (Southeast) – US$ 3.051 million, Rio Grande do Sul (South) – US$ 2.039 million, Ceará (Northeast) – US$ 1.216 million, Santa Catarina (South) – US$ 1.037 million, Piauí (Northeast) – US$ 736,443 and Paraná (South) – US$ 465,292. In the first five months this year, the average price for honey was US$ 1.56 per kilogram, lower than the US$ 1.59 per kilogram recorded in the same period last year.
Nevertheless, the average cost of honey has been increasing over the last two months. There was a slight increase from April's US$ 1.53 per kilogram, to May's US$ 1.61 per kilogram. Only the states of Paraná (US$ 1.74 per kilogram), Ceará (US$ 1.73 per kilogram), and São Paulo (US$ 1.59 per kilogram) have recorded prices above the average (US$ 1.56 per kilogram). The lowest price was that of Santa Catarina (US$ 1.44 per kilogram).
More than 90% of total Brazilian honey exports during the last five months were turned to the United States market (US$ 8.017 million). Sebrae consultant Reginaldo Resende points out that from 2005 to 2006, Brazil rose from the 7th to the 4th position in the ranking of largest exporters to the United States.
"But in the first four months this year, we lost one position, due to the large increase in honey exports from Vietnam and India, which are the 3rd and the 4th largest exporters to the American market," he explains.
In April this year, China did not export to the United States due to the required payment, on demand, of an anti-dumping tariff of over 200% that the country has imposed on Chinese honey.
In order to keep up the pace and escape the European embargo, Brazilian exporters are innovating and making new business arrangements. The strategy of Apiários Lambertucci bee yard, based in the city of Rio Claro (São Paulo), was to avoid the United States market, which was paying a low price for the Brazilian honey, and to seek alternative routes.
The manager for export activities at the company, Sérgio Ricardo Varussa, claims that, in May this year, he sold to Canada and opened up an advantageous market in South Africa. "We have managed to sell our honey in South Africa at a price of US$ 1.70 per kilogram," he says.
But Varussa explains that, due to the European embargo, Apiários is not exporting at the same pace. "Up until May, we only exported five containers. Whenever the European market is available, we export up to four containers a month," he claims.
In order to keep the company's finances in balance, Apiários is negotiating sales of coffee honey with Japan. The company also earned approval as an international supplier for Nestlé. The deal has resulted in fortnightly sales of Apiários honey to Nestlé in Brazil, Venezuela, and Chile.
"We are also striving to export packed honey, and not in barrels, to the Arab countries, Japan, and the United States," Sérgio says. According to him, this change in the sales pattern is going to add value to the Brazilian honey, and make it more profitable. "Honey in barrels is sold at a lower price, because it is shipped abroad as if it were a basic raw material," he explains.
In the first five months this year, the export value of other beeswaxes totaled US$ 2.247 million. The figure represents a decrease of 12.5% over the same period in 2006. Out of the total exports, 77.6% went to Japan, and 17% to China. The leading exporter state was São Paulo, followed by Minas Gerais.
Up until May 2007, propolis exports yielded only US$ 22,895. In the same period last year, exports totaled US$ 43,329. In the first five months this year, compared with the same period last year, the average price dropped from US$ 98 per kilogram to US$ 31 per kilogram.
Apiários Lambertucci – (19) 3524-8060 www.apiarioslambertucci.com.br