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“Stop low-cost honey imports”: the cry of alarm from French beekeepers

A mobilization to be heard.

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“Stop low-cost honey imports”: the cry of alarm from French beekeepers

A mobilization to be heard. Around a hundred French beekeepers, believing they were being strangled by cheap honey imports, gathered on Thursday at Place de la République in Paris to raise awareness about their situation and ask for emergency aid. “The real difficulty is marketing our products,” explained Manuel Roger, a beekeeper in Indre, at the origin of the event, during a press briefing.

It produces 60 to 70 tons of honey per year and, usually, has sold three quarters of its production by this time. This year, “I’ve sold five tons so far,” he said. “Traders’ stocks are full, honey is not being sold,” he reported. The French consume on average 45,000 tonnes of honey per year, while 20,000 tonnes are produced on average in the country, according to the Confédération Paysanne, which called for this demonstration with the National Union of French Beekeeping and the National Union of Beekeeping. 'beekeeping. Imports are therefore necessary.

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But “this is the first time that we have so much honey on farms that we cannot sell,” noted Laurence Marandola, spokesperson for the Confédération paysanne, the third French agricultural union, during the same press briefing. French honey production has been particularly good over the past two years. According to an estimate from professional organizations, it amounts to 33,900 tonnes in 2023, after 30,600 tonnes in 2022.

For their part, “imports continue at scandalous prices, less than two euros per kilo, particularly from Eastern Europe,” lamented Laurence Marandola. But on the shelves, the price of honey has not fallen for French consumers, she added, denouncing “surcharges” in the sector, among traders or distributors. A delegation was to be received at the Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday. The mobilized beekeepers are asking in particular for lump-sum emergency cash flow aid, estimated at around 50 million euros, as well as the establishment of a minimum price of entry into the territory which cannot be lower than the cost price in France.

Contacted by AFP, David Besacier, president of the French Honey Union, which brings together companies packaging honey in jars, refers to inflation, "which encourages households to turn to products less expensive than honey" or “towards cheap honey”. Between declining sales and the large harvest of the last two years, including by amateur beekeepers, “our stocks are full and as a result, we do not buy honey from French producers,” admitted David Besacier.

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