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Alastair

Should I Care?

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I see that "Industry Leaders" have attempted to scupper Bruce Clow's attempt to put together a united front for those attempting to sell cheaper end honeys internationally.

 

Who are these "Industry Leaders"? Manuka producers of course, few of whom are on this forum because everything they do is very secret squirrel and they would rather not talk. They have advised MPI not to provide any funding to allow Bruce to get a feasability study underway for marketing non manuka honey, on the basis that the industry is restructuring but currently in good heart.

 

Translation of what they say - Our little clique are currently in a pretty good spot, most beekeepers are not but they can be eradicated by natural attrition and it isn't our problem, let it happen, don't help them.

 

The manuka "brand" has recently been threatened by Australians selling unregulated product under the same name. Australians yet again trying to usurp something Kiwi that we have worked on developing has naturally aroused the resentment of most Kiwis. Beekeeper, non beekeeper, and Maori, alike.

 

Back before manuka was a thing, I worked the manuka feilds of the far north, manuka was a big part of the crop even though it didn't pay much. Because manuka was the hardest to extract and hardest to sell, and sugar was out of budget for most broke'ish beekeepers to spend too much on, manuka was the main honey of choice to hold back for winter feed, at least in the outfit I worked for.

 

Years later, in Auckland, I saw the lolly scramble mentality developing in regards to manuka, I decided to stay out of it. Too much bad stuff happening.

 

Manuka is marketed as a health product. For insane dollars. No health claims can be made on a jar of it, but they are certainly implied. People think they are spending their big dollars on something that is going to do them a power of good. But bottom line, a person of average health who eats some manuka honey will get no health benefits as against any other honey, at all. Nill, Nada, Zippo.

In my view and I have always held this, the manuka honey boom is currently the nearest thing to a fraud. Huge dollars are being extracted from people due to their ignorance.

 

Medical manuka as a wound dressing, well that's different because there is a basis in fact. But manuka sold for eating as a health product worth every cent? Fraud.

 

All i have had out of the manuka boom was the ability to easily sell bees to those wanting to get into the business. But even that has turned out to be something of a ponzi scheme with some of those buyers now going bankrupt.

 

What i really got out of the manuka boom is that due to factors out of my control, my high quality but non manuka honey is now virtually worthless and my business is worth next to nothing.

 

So should i care about those manuka barons who care nothing for me, attempting to shut Aussies and whoever else may try to muscle in, out of their fake product? Not much far as I'm concerned.

 

 

 

 

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If I had paid out dollars to join ApiNZ , I'd be spitting tacks...

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5 minutes ago, yesbut said:

If I had paid out dollars to join ApiNZ , I'd be spitting tacks...

was there ever the slightest chance of you joining ApiNZ?

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1 minute ago, ChrisM said:

was there ever the slightest chance of you joining ApiNZ?

If I could sell honey at my gate without all the NP1 etc palaver, I probably would join, but what sort of a chance is that ?

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28 minutes ago, yesbut said:

If I could sell honey at my gate without all the NP1 etc palaver, I probably would join, but what sort of a chance is that ?

What you mean as they can do in the United States of America? One of the most risk averse and litigous countries in the world? Where problems surrounding the sale of honey don't make it to our NZ news, but every game of the NBA does...

 

I think that is called a 'snowballs' chance.

 

To be fair, I don't think ApiNZ have any pull over previous or current governments, so even if they had wanted to remove honey out of the food act 2014, they don't have the muscle to do it. We'd all have to (re) join Federated Farmers for that :) haha.

 

Assuming you could sell your own honey without regulation, then what would be the point of joining ApiNZ exactly?

 

Back to the OP.

I heard Bruce Clow speaking at the NZ Beekeeping Inc day at Waikato Uni. I was impressed with his enthusiasm but it isn't my area and at the time I couldn't see a direct path forward. I now think there is scope for regional co-op's to work on the problems, I don't see much scope for a national one, except that maybe if there are series of vibrant regional co-ops then they might much later look at some combined forays overseas. It was interesting in the international honey price thread to discover so much domestic honey is actually exported in suitcases of overseas visitors. It turns out you only need NP1 to export!! I think that provides a genuine growth market / opportunity that smaller local beekeepers could target. It is great that NZ Beekeeping has since jumped into support of Mark Goodwin's talk at the same event. It would be super cool if NZ Beekeeping could take a close look at co-ops and some of the ideas people have. 

 

In contrast I'm happy that I did join NZ Beekeeping Inc, but I only consider it second after my local focus in the BoP Beekeeper Group.

Edited by ChrisM
typos

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Is it really a Manuka driven agenda? 

Most Manuka operators also produce non Manuka, and plenty of it. 

Our family enjoyed years supplying the south island honey coop. For 4 odd bucks a kilo. But they took it all, paid freight and supplied tanks. 

We still didn't buy the shares. 

I would support a government decision to fund a possible honey coop. Maybe gov got feeling it was anti-competitive? Bit like backing a business model to compete with current businesses. Too similar. 

What I would like to discover, is the desire for Manuka honey waning? 

Is export dropping? A passing Coconut butter fad. The big boys won't want a negative feeling. But a beekeeper geared up for M with high staff/costs would want to know. What happens if this season we have a bumper M crop? 

A lot of questions, and all guess work.

What I do know, the Manuka chasers are committed to the adventure. 

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Bruces proposed coop was not anti competitive. The plan was for it to be the opposite, ie, to unify everyone and stop beekeepers having to stab each other in the back.

 

No manuka producers would have been harmed, which is why i don't see why they had a problem. I thought beekeepers would support beekeepers, obviously not.

Edited by Alastair
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Even with a coop you will still have plenty of independent businesses who don't want more competition.

M is high value export honey, the sellers may not want to 'cheapen' that market with non M. The focus is on M. 

At 5$ surely a company can eke a niche. It's not sustainable long term but could develop.  

 

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1 minute ago, Gino de Graaf said:

M is high value export honey, the sellers may not want to 'cheapen' that market with non M. The focus is on M. 

 

So you think that was the motive?

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So no co-op... why are we not looking at a online auction system like fonterra or a marketing board. Bruce has lead the charge for change and that takes balls. With Aussie weather there must be opportunity for sales.

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Capilano import from all over the world, in my view there is not huge potential for NZ honey over there, although it is on the shelves.

 

The recent fires might be a blip but the long term potential for Australia to produce "manuka" far exceeds our own in terms of quantity, especially if they remain unregulated which they probably will.

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16 minutes ago, Alastair said:

 

So you think that was the motive?

No idea, all speculation. 

If my business was M focused, how would a cheaper non M be perceived? If labeled as same provider.

You can have several brands, one M the other non owed by a business. To separate, look at milk. You don't see Anchor selling cheap, even if it's maybe packing the same milk as cheaper option. 

2 minutes ago, Alastair said:

Capilano import from all over the world, in my view there is not huge potential for NZ honey over there, although it is on the shelves.

 

The recent fires might be a blip but the long term potential for Australia to produce "manuka" far exceeds our own in terms of quantity, especially if they remain unregulated which they probably will.

Does capilino import comvita product? And sell it as M there and overseas.

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12 minutes ago, Gino de Graaf said:

If my business was M focused, how would a cheaper non M be perceived? If labeled as same provider.

You can have several brands, one M the other non owed by a business. To separate, look at milk. You don't see Anchor selling cheap, even if it's maybe packing the same milk as cheaper option. 

.

Interesting thought, a possible motive maybe. Although i think attempting to sabotage all NZ honey except their own would be unlikely although not impossible i guess.

 

To me it seems that high grade manuka and non manuka are 2 completely different markets that are not in competition. 

 

12 minutes ago, Gino de Graaf said:

Does capilino import comvita product? And sell it as M there and overseas.

 

Yes they do, although Comvita has part ownership in Capilano, which i think was set up to facilitate this.

Edited by Alastair

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APINZ backed the co-op proposal, did not tell MPI not to fund it or anything else in that vane.

The proposal was defeated because there was no proposal, no brand, no marketing, nothing nudder.

$100000 was spent on lawyers so they could see if they could get $500000 to see if we could start a co-op, thats why it failed.

Stop blaming APINZ for this. The honey industry in NZ is still going, allbeit not as we are used to or want. But if you keep producing a product no one wants then you the one at fault.

Fine out what the world wants and then go produce it. Just because you produce honey dosent mean people have to but it.

Yes it is hard at the moment, so find out what the new is and go produce it or get another job.

5 hours ago, Alastair said:

I see that "Industry Leaders" have attempted to scupper Bruce Clow's attempt to put together a united front for those attempting to sell cheaper end honeys internationally.

Out of all the beekeepers saying this is the answer, they could not get the funds to to make it work.

APINZ backed the co-op idea, spent 2hours chatting with their lawyer to double check things and see where we could help.

3 hours ago, ChrisM said:

To be fair, I don't think ApiNZ have any pull over previous or current governments, so even if they had wanted to remove honey out of the food act 2014, they don't have the muscle to do it. We'd all have to (re) join Federated Farmers for that :) haha.

Why would you pull honey out of the food act---What is it then?

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OK Dennis if you are correct i take it all back i did not know APINZ were in support of the idea.

 

Two different stories from two different sources i guess.

 

Please note though that i didn't name APINZ.

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Ta Dennis. Tough words but true enough. 

You have any thoughts regarding demand for Manuka? Is there a quantity of good last season  M mono sitting in sheds unsold? 

Sure, some say going gang Buster's but is it? 

 

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3 hours ago, Gino de Graaf said:

Is it really a Manuka driven agenda? 

Most Manuka operators also produce non Manuka, and plenty of it. 

 

The real money is made from M... other honeys are a by-product or at best a small petty-cash earner.

2 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

Fine out what the world wants and then go produce it. Just because you produce honey dosent mean people have to but it.

The world didn't want Manuka honey until it was researched and marketed did it? 

51 minutes ago, cee-bees said:
2 hours ago, Dennis Crowley said:

dosent mean people have to but it.

The world didn't want Manuka honey until it was researched and marketed did it? The world didn't know it wanted iPhones until they were developed and marketed.

 

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8 hours ago, cee-bees said:

real money is made from M... other honeys are a by-product or at best a small petty-cash

Yes, tho money can be made with volume. Huge amounts of dough was made with M using relatively small volume. Hence M has become king. 

Your thinking that non Ms are a byproduct is probably shared by buyers, and unhelpful. 

Sure would be nice to sell all honey under a banner turning over large amounts of pots to make a dollar. Sheer volume of product will work.

 

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8 minutes ago, Gino de Graaf said:

Sheer volume of product will work.

 

Good for your work life balance too....not.

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1 hour ago, yesbut said:

Good for your work life balance too....not.

I think in countries like Hungary , Argentina , Canada you can achieve sheer volume of product with a lot less labour than NZ.

I think that applies to lots of things in NZ where you have to work much harder to achieve the same level of productivity of other countries .

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Certainly in Canada that is the case.

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14 hours ago, Alastair said:

es they do, although Comvita has part ownership in Capilano, which i think was set up to facilitate this.

Edited 14 hours ago by Alastair

Are you sure about that??  The reason Comvita initially got into bed with Capilano was they saw them as a source of high umf Manuka honey (10 plus) which they were desperately short of to meet their contractual obligations for medical grade Manuka.  

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Sure about which? That they are part owners, or that they did it to facilitate the sale of honey.

 

If you mean about selling honey, that was my assumption only, sounds like you probably know more. Medical grade manuka has to be processed in Australia so what you say would make sense.

 

Also, your description "got into bed with", may be more accurate than what i said. 😉

Edited by Alastair

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Just now, Alastair said:

Sure about which? That they are part owners, or that they did it to facilitate the sale of honey.

 

If you mean about selling honey, that was my assumption only, sounds like you probably know more.

 

Also, your description "got into bed with", may be more accurate than what i said. 😉

Ha ha - yes to facilitate the sale of honey.

That certainly wasn’t their intention at the start of the “relationship “ but with our current Manuka definition I wouldn’t be surprised if they were shipping drums of multifloral Manuka over to Capilano to be packed and exported as Manuka.  Pure speculation of course.😉

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Yes, what you point out is a big loophole.

 

An overseas person recently asked me about a pretty cheap jar of manuka they found that said "product of New Zealand", but had been packed somewhere else.

 

My reply to them was the only way to know they are getting the genuine article is to get manuka honey that was packed into the jar in NZ.

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