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Yucatán honey production decline linked to drought, climate change

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A bee gets jiggy with a cactus flower in Mexico. Photo: Getty

Mérida, Yucatán — Despite the fact that Yucatán continues to be the main honey producer in the country, its production has been decreasing year by year.

In 2016, by this time of year the state had produced 7,000 tons of honey, which represented a 35 percent decline over the previous year. So far this year, honey totals are down by 2,000 tons, according to the Ministry of Rural Development.

Climate change is being blamed for declining honey production in Yucatán. Since bees rely on native shrubs and trees that bloom throughout the year, a drought at the beginning of the year was also attributed to the decline.

Bee cultivators use sugar as an artificial food when natural sources of sustenance are low.

With less product comes higher prices. Honey is fetching 45 pesos per kilo compared to 30 pesos in 2016, said the head of the Ministry of Rural Development, Juan Jose Canul Perez.

“The difference between this year and the previous are the erratic changes of climate,” said Canul. At first there was no rain, but now there is too much of it, he continued.

About a quarter of all the countries cultivated beehives are in Yucatán. Across the state, 12,000 honey producers handle 514,000 hives, centered mainly around Valladolid. Exports head to Germany, the United States, Great Britain, Northern Ireland, Saudi Arabia and Belgium.

Nationally, Mexico produces more than 58,000 tons of honey each year. Exports were valued at US$93.7 million, reported the Secretary of Agriculture, Livestock, Rural Development, Fisheries and Food (SAGARPA).

After Yucatán, Campeche and Jalisco follow in honey production. After those are Chiapas, Veracruz, Oaxaca, Quintana Roo, Puebla, Guerrero and Michoacán.

Although Europe produces much of its own honey, it is also a loyal customer to Mexico, according to the SAGARPA.

 

Sources: Sipse, El Universal

 

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