Bulgarian beekeepers in the Dobrudja region are sounding the alarm as the value of honey continues to plummet despite a backdrop of rising costs and challenging climatic conditions.
The once-thriving industry is now grappling with oversupply, inadequate subsidies, and the adverse effects of climate change, forcing beekeepers to sell their products at a loss and contemplate the future of their livelihoods.
Wholesale prices per kilogram of honey have dropped by approximately BGN 2, a stark reality that has prompted beekeepers like Hincho Hinev, who manages 140 hives near Kavarna, to take matters into their own hands by selling directly at farmers’ markets.
Hinev argues that the actual price of honey should be at least BGN 5.20, considering the escalating costs of fuels, raw materials, and other essentials.
“Some of the colleagues just couldn’t take it, and as soon as they got the product out, they sold it. And right now, the companies that buy out just sit down and agree on one price.
And it has no interest in us. And we have to absorb programs, pay insurance, and whatnot. And finally – you have honey, and it stays! There is no market for 15 tons of copper,” explained Stoyko Vasilev, chairman of the Association “Bechela Balchik 2019.”
One of the key factors contributing to the crisis, according to Hinev, is the influx of cheap honey from Ukraine. The import of lower-priced honey has flooded the market, leaving local beekeepers struggling to compete and recoup their costs.
This influx has disrupted the delicate balance in pricing, creating an unsustainable environment for Bulgarian beekeepers.
Adding to the industry’s woes is the impact of changing climatic conditions, with drought leading to three times lower yields than usual.
Slavcho Kolev, a veteran with 55 years of experience in the trade, notes that until recently, beekeepers could extract 40 kg of honey from each hive.
However, the current frequent and sudden changes in temperatures have left beekeepers anxiously hoping for brief cold snaps to ensure the survival of honeybees.
The desperation among beekeepers has resulted in more and more farmers selling off their hives, even at a loss, due to subsidies that are deemed woefully inadequate to sustain their operations.
The looming question of the sector’s survival hangs in the air, with the industry facing an uncertain future unless substantial support measures are implemented.
In response to the crisis, beekeepers are calling for urgent government intervention to address the oversupply issue, regulate pricing, and provide more substantial subsidies to support the industry through these challenging times.
The sustainability of Bulgaria’s honey sector, once a symbol of the country’s rich agricultural heritage, now stands at a crossroads, demanding swift and decisive action to ensure its survival in the face of economic and environmental challenges.
This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members