21 Jun 2010

High quality manuka honey in short supply

6:29 am on 21 June 2010

A severe shortage of high-quality manuka honey is leaving exporters struggling to fill orders, and hitting beekeepers' incomes.

Processor and exporter Steve Lyttle of Honey Valley in Timaru says variable weather conditions this year, which may have seen manuka flower at the same time as other trees, severely affected production of manuka honey.

Mr Lyttle says the manuka content in the honey is lower than usual and exporters are struggling to fill orders for high-quality honey.

He says typically manuka honey would have non-peroxide anti bacterial activity of around 25, but this year the majority measuring under 15.

Mr Lyttle says it's meant a huge loss of income for some beekeepers, with prices dropping from up to $30 per kilo to about $8 a kilo for standard manuka honey.