Buying local boosts B.C. bee industry in 2015
The year 2015 was successful for the beekeeping industry in British Columbia, with more and more people buying honey direct from beekeepers, bringing the estimated total farm receipts of the year to more than $25 million.
British Columbians preferred to buy their honey straight from beekeepers in 2015, with estimated farm receipts for the retail sales of honey in B.C. almost doubling from 2014, to almost $16.5 million.
Retail sales include farmers’ markets, roadside stands, and direct sales to consumers and restaurants. Beekeepers’ farm cash receipts from honey sold to stores and wholesale packers topped $3 million in 2015 in comparison.
“The beekeeping industry is playing a major role in the province’s economy. These statistics show that more and more British Columbians are choosing to buy their honey direct from beekeepers, and showing a strong interest in buying local foods,” said Minister of Agriculture Norm Letnick.
“Supporting local food producers creates local jobs and revenue, and is a sweet reward to the province’s beekeepers.”
The sales from beeswax also increased to reach over $1 million in 2015. Beeswax is used to make candles, and is increasingly being used in the production of food, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
Beekeeper’s pollination income for 2015 brought in an estimated $5 million with honey bees used to pollinate B.C.’s fruit, berry, and canola farms. Crop pollination contributes an estimated $250 million to the economy in B.C. and more than $2 billion in Canada. The beekeeping statistics were collected through Ministry of Agriculture beekeeper surveys.
The province is home to more than 2,400 beekeepers and almost 45,000 colonies of bees. Beekeeping is celebrated on May 29 each year. The day was declared Day of the Honey Bee to remind British Columbians of the significant role bees and beekeepers play every day and to recognize the vital importance of bees in modern agriculture and the environment.