Honeybee colonies are essential for agriculture and environment, ensuring plant reproduction by pollination, while beekeeping participates to the development of rural areas.
As the world's second most important honey producer after China, the European Union (EU) offers a variety of apiculture products not just honey, but also pollen, propolis, royal jelly and beeswax. However, the EU is also a net importer of honey from third countries.
Source: Member States' national apiculture programmes
Beekeeping is practised in all EU countries and is characterised by a diversity of production conditions, yields and beekeeping practices.
EU members with the largest honey production (Romania, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Italy, Greece, France and Poland) are located mainly in the southern part of the European Union where climatic conditions are more favourable to beekeeping.
World-wide amongst biggest producers, EU is also a net importer
Despite being the world's second largest honey producer, the EU is a net importer of honey as domestic production only covers around 60% of consumption. The main supplier of honey imported into the EU is China, followed by Ukraine and countries in Latin America.