Statistical Overview of the Canadian Honey and Bee Industry and the Economic Contribution of Honey Bee Pollination, 2021

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Overview

Beekeeping is an important agricultural industry in Canada, producing honey and other hive products, and delivering valuable pollination services to farmers of orchard fruits, many berries, vegetables, forage, and the production of hybrid canola seed. AAFC has updated the estimate of the total annual economic contribution of honey bee pollination through direct additional harvest value; honey bees were directly tied to $3.18 billion in additional harvest value. When the estimated contribution of honey bee pollination to the production of hybrid canola seed is added, the total estimated contribution rises to $7 billion per year.

Like the previous year, the 2021 beekeeping season was affected by the disruptions in travel and transportation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Limited travel options for Seasonal and Temporary Foreign Workers prevented or delayed the arrival of the workforce critical to many beekeeping operations. COVID-related transportation disruptions also affected the supply of imported replacement queen and package bees. These important supplies are shipped from a limited number of approved places including Australia, New Zealand, Chile, California, and Hawaii for queens; and Australia, New Zealand, Chile for ‘package’ bees (about one kilogram of worker bees and a mated queen bee to be placed in a hive box on arrival). These replacement bees complement domestic supplies, and typically arrive in the early spring to address hive losses and replace weak queen bees after the winter has passed.

Despite these challenges, beekeepers grew the numbers of honey bee colonies to a record high 810,496, 6.0% more than the previous year. Honey production in Canada in 2021, by volume, rose 7.9% from a year earlier to 89.8 million pounds. Thanks to higher volumes and sustained robust prices for honey, the total value of the 2021 harvest rose 39.4% (over 2020) to $278.0 million.

While beekeepers operate in all provinces, the majority (67.6%) of Canadian honey bee colonies are kept in the Prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta) where long summer days and large areas of good forage crops for bees make it possible for beekeepers in those provinces to produce honey well in surplus to provincial demand. In contrast, the majority (57.4%) of beekeepers (anyone with one or more honey bee colonies) operate in Ontario and British Columbia, managing 20.3% of the national total of colonies. The three Prairie Provinces produced 81.6% of the total national honey production in 2021, totalling 73,220 thousand pounds (out of a total national production of 89,773 thousand pounds).

This regional concentration of honey production is echoed in the regional balance of honey exports. The Prairie Provinces are the origin for 75.8% of export shipments of honey, almost all of the remainder (22.9%) of Canadian honey exports leave Canada from Ontario and Quebec. The United States has been the major export destination for Canadian honey for many years, with Japan following far behind; this has shifted recently. Since the start of 2020 many months have seen Japan emerge as the major export destination for Canadian honey. In the most recent complete year (2021), Japan was the destination for 54.5% (4,000 MT) of honey exports from Canada while the United States received 40.8% (2992 MT) of total annual exports.

Canadian beekeepers import queen bees and package bees (a few pounds of worker bees and a mated queen) each spring to supplement domestic supplies of bees. These imported bees are used to rapidly replace over-winter queen and hive losses and to grow beekeeping operations over the season. Queens can be imported from certain countries and regions which have been evaluated to ensure that bees from these places do not pose any unacceptable risk to Canada. Most imported queen bees come from California and Hawaii (84.1%), with contributions from Italy (5.5%), New Zealand (3.0%), Australia (2.1%), and Chile (2.1%).

Package bees come from a shorter list of approved sources: Australia, New Zealand and Chile. In 2021 supply and transportation challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic stranded many sources of package bees overseas resulting in all 8,661 packages of bees arriving in Canada originating in Australia. The 2021 total of 8,661 represents 30% of the average quantity of packages received in each of the previous four years.

Section A: Statistical overview of Canadian honey and bee industry
1. Production

1.1 Number of beekeepers[1] by province

Number of beekeepers by province
  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Prince Edward Island 46 50 50 30 30 0.2%
Nova Scotia 604 631 690 788 874 6.7%
New Brunswick 374 388 415 450 495 3.8%
Quebec 402 425 440 485 511 3.9%
Ontario 3,331 3,026 2,506 2,856 3,227 24.6%
Manitoba 746 834 905 914 930 7.1%
Saskatchewan 1,044 1,059 1,101 1,050 1,226 9.4%
Alberta 1,420 1,572 1,653 1,621 1,512 11.5%
British Columbia 2,640 2,676 2,763 3,800 4,300 32.8%
Canada[2] 10,589 10,661 10,523 11,994 13,105 100.0%
Notes:

[1] Beekeeper numbers may include pollinators that may not extract honey.
[2] Newfoundland and Labrador is excluded since the province has limited beekeeping.
Source: Statistics Canada. Table 32-10-0353-01 Production and value of honey

1.2. Number of colonies[1] by province

Number of colonies by province
  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Prince Edward Island 6,300 4,453 3,591 4,250 3,436 0.4%
Nova Scotia 26,426 25,446 25,716 21,600 27,596 3.4%
New Brunswick 7,100 8,141 4,120 8,456 9,250 1.1%
Quebec 61,020 60,439 66,700 67,173 57,498 7.1%
Ontario 105,244 100,413 90,675 101,989 102,328 12.6%
Manitoba 111,802 114,098 114,668 116,697 115,707 14.3%
Saskatchewan 115,000 114,000 115,000 100,000 115,000 14.2%
Alberta 317,000 311,000 314,800 283,000 317,500 39.2%
British Columbia 40,776 52,033 55,781 56,769 62,181 7.7%
Canada[2] 790,668 790,023 791,051 764,616 810,496 100.0%

Notes:
[1] Colony numbers may include pollinators that may not extract honey.
[2] Newfoundland and Labrador is excluded since the province has limited beekeeping.
Source: Statistics Canada. Table 32-10-0353-01 Production and value of honey

1.3. Number of beekeepers and number of colonies by province

Source: Statistics Canada. Table 32-10-0353-01 Production and value of honey

Description of the image above.

Number of beekeepers and number of colonies by province

Province Number of beekeepers 2021 Number of colonies 2021
Prince Edward Island 30 3,436
Nova Scotia 874 27,596
New Brunswick 495 9,250
Quebec 511 57,498
Ontario 3,227 102,328
Manitoba 930 115,707
Saskatchewan 1,226 115,000
Alberta 1,512 317,500
British Columbia 4,300 62,181

1.4. Total honey production[1] by province – thousands of pounds

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Prince Edward Island 231 168 181 159 192 0.2%
Nova Scotia 553 522 390 550 578 0.6%
New Brunswick 201 469 218 346 406 0.5%
Quebec 3,723 4,472 3,963 2,996 4,628 5.2%
Ontario 6,087 8,174 7,963 8,535 6,402 7.1%
Manitoba 19,120 18,710 18,350 20,300 18,630 20.8%
Saskatchewan 21,965 20,520 20,240 15,700 19,665 21.9%
Alberta 40,576 38,564 31,418 30,735 34,925 38.9%
British Columbia 3,556 3,397 3,907 3,843 4,346 4.8%
Canada[2] 96,012 94,996 86,630 83,165 89,773 100.0%

Notes:
[1] Production excludes inventory.
[2] Newfoundland and Labrador is excluded since the province has limited beekeeping.
Source: Statistics Canada. Table 32-10-0353-01 Production and value of honey

1.5. Production value[1] of honey by province – thousands of Canadian dollars

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Prince Edward Island 666 393 423 332 462 0.2%
Nova Scotia 1,586 1,574 1,073 2,133 1,689 0.6%
New Brunswick 511 1,430 666 1,399 1,809 0.7%
Quebec 15,120 16,655 15,408 8,136 17,000 6.1%
Ontario 20,257 34,329 29,437 32,007 30,088 10.8%
Manitoba 32,268 32,786 32,997 43,435 48,938 20.6%
Saskatchewan 34,045 33,858 32,384 31,400 57,380 21.2%
Alberta 71,359 66,472 58,188 66,846 96,358 34.7%
British Columbia 14,292 13,320 11,040 13,780 14,248 5.1%
Canada[2] 190,104 200,816 181,615 199,468 278,029 100.0%
Notes:
[1] Value excludes inventory sales except for in Quebec.
[2] Newfoundland and Labrador is excluded since the province has limited beekeeping.
Source: Statistics Canada. Table 32-10-0353-01 Production and value of honey

2. Trade

2.1. Trade balance

2.1.1. Canada's honey trade balance – thousands of Canadian dollars

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Export 76,986 78,011 53,827 47,371 44,663
Import 41,284 36,787 45,403 42,576 47,479
Trade Balance (Exports − Imports) 35,702 41,224 8,424 4,795 -2,816
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.2. Exports

2.2.1. Canada's honey exports by province[1] – by value (thousands of Canadian dollars)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Prince Edward Island 0 0 0 2 0 0.0%
Nova Scotia 126 15 60 113 2 0.0%
Quebec 5,446 4,602 4,098 6,200 5,314 11.9%
Ontario 3,864 6,362 5,722 2,527 6,217 13.9%
Manitoba 19,310 13,033 11,943 16,407 17,270 38.7%
Saskatchewan 19,928 20,511 11,097 7,230 3,178 7.1%
Alberta 27,150 31,749 19,735 14,387 12,080 27.0%
British Columbia 1,160 1,739 1,172 506 602 1.3%
Canada 76,986 78,011 53,827 47,371 44,663 100.0%
Notes:
[1] Exports may include honey not produced in that province.
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.2.2. Canada's honey exports by province – by volume (metric tonnes)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Prince Edward Island 0 0 0 1 0 0.0%
Nova Scotia 22 2 7 20 0 0.0%
Quebec 1,006 838 611 965 736 10.0%
Ontario 828 1,219 1,006 398 946 12.9%
Manitoba 5,242 3,160 2,959 3,358 2,941 40.1%
Saskatchewan 5,541 5,127 2,735 1,630 599 8.2%
Alberta 6,372 7,958 4,358 2,852 2,020 27.5%
British Columbia 186 284 171 85 98 1.3%
Total 19,196 18,587 11,847 9,309 7,341 100.0%
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.2.3. Canada's top honey export destinations – by value (thousands of Canadian dollars)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Japan 12,432 12,643 17,884 23,735 25,036 56.1%
United States 60,878 62,005 33,615 19,363 17,574 39.3%
South Korea 550 696 503 671 823 1.8%
China 1,981 1,903 1,403 1,648 458 1.0%
United Kingdom 0 0 0 93 178 0.4%
Hong Kong 460 347 154 688 144 0.3%
India 366 2 0 70 92 0.2%
Greece 0 2 0 48 65 0.1%
Belgium 0 0 37 0 51 0.1%
Kuwait 23 13 5 60 42 0.1%
Others 296 400 227 995 200 0.4%
Total 76,986 78,011 53,827 47,371 44,663 100.0%
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.2.4. Canada's top honey export destinations – by volume (metric tonnes)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Japan 2,799 2,785 3,575 4,362 4,002 54.5%
United States 15,762 15,221 7,872 4,143 2,992 40.8%
South Korea 109 124 128 135 141 1.9%
China 323 326 209 295 82 1.1%
United Kingdom 0 0 0 15 26 0.4%
Hong Kong 72 55 19 120 20 0.3%
India 75 0 0 13 17 0.2%
Greece 0 0 0 15 14 0.2%
Belgium 0 0 5 0 9 0.1%
Kuwait 4 2 1 11 8 0.1%
Others 52 74 39 199 31 0.4%
Total 19,196 18,587 11,847 9,309 7,341 100.0%
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.3. Imports

2.3.1. Canada's honey imports by province – by value (thousands of Canadian
dollars)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Nova Scotia 8 2 73 3 2 0.0%
New Brunswick 7 30 7 0 22 0.0%
Quebec 12,356 10,783 10,817 11,302 15,249 32.1%
Ontario 24,631 19,685 27,543 24,404 24,214 51.0%
Manitoba 72 15 44 28 378 0.8%
Saskatchewan 5 20 69 1 550 1.2%
Alberta 28 837 737 825 1,019 2.1%
British Columbia 4,178 5,414 6,112 6,013 6,045 12.7%
Canada 41,284 36,787 45,403 42,576 47,479 100.0%
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.3.2. Canada's honey imports by province – by volume (metric tons)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Nova Scotia 1 0 22 1 0 0.0%
New Brunswick 0 3 0 0 4 0.0%
Quebec 2,633 2,501 2,896 3,080 3,460 42.2%
Ontario 3,585 2,306 3,151 3,660 4,070 49.6%
Manitoba 9 1 5 2 63 0.8%
Saskatchewan 0 1 2 0 100 1.2%
Alberta 3 24 25 26 120 1.5%
British Columbia 418 369 412 376 383 4.7%
Canada 6,650 5,207 6,513 7,144 8,200 100.0%
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.3.3. Canada's top sources of honey imports – by value (thousands of Canadian
dollars)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
New Zealand 9,560 12,759 17,470 14,122 12,918 27.2%
Brazil 7,384 4,227 6,890 5,864 11,650 24.5%
United States 2,667 3,213 2,539 4,931 3,518 7.4%
India 2,018 2,315 3,397 3,342 3,391 7.1%
Spain 3,121 1,490 2,606 2,013 3,162 6.7%
Australia 3,102 3,008 3,110 2,719 2,594 5.5%
Thailand 1,856 4,011 3,476 2,450 1,955 4.1%
Greece 1,227 1,290 1,282 1,439 1,628 3.4%
Saudi Arabia 951 959 1,297 990 1,373 2.9%
Viet Nam 900 481 276 1,356 955 2.0%
Others 8,498 3,033 3,058 3,351 4,335 9.1%
Total 41,284 36,787 45,403 42,576 47,479 100.0%
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.3.4. Canada's top sources of honey imports – by volume (metric tons)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Brazil 1,280 913 1,811 1,749 2,509 30.6%
India 506 745 1,092 1,079 1,118 13.6%
United States 469 566 575 1,148 807 9.8%
Spain 735 315 529 416 795 9.7%
Thailand 484 970 891 700 756 9.2%
Viet Nam 326 216 129 544 438 5.3%
Greece 178 138 142 255 338 4.1%
New Zealand 346 344 412 331 285 3.5%
Australia 334 324 279 223 219 2.7%
Argentina 78 71 85 84 179 2.2%
Others 1,916 604 567 614 755 9.2%
Total 6,650 5,207 6,513 7,144 8,200 100.0%
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.3.5. Canada's sources of package honey bee imports – by value (Canadian dollars)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Australia 331,206 853,887 1,255,269 84,870 736,172 100.0%
New Zealand 1,510,369 1,278,340 1,988,220 951,273 0 0.0%
Chile 316,067 651,930 167,180 86,400 0 0.0%
Total 2,157,642 2,784,157 3,410,677 1,122,543 736,172 100.0%
Notes:
Does not include queen bees and live bees that are not honey bees.
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.3.6. Canada's sources of package honey bee imports – by volume (kilograms)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
Australia 2,880 7,959 13,462 720 8,661 100.0%
New Zealand 20,637 16,839 25,308 12,010 0 0.0%
Chile 3,870 6,840 2,569 1,016 0 0.0%
Total 27,387 31,638 41,339 13,746 8,661 100.0%
Notes:
Does not include queen bees and live bees that are not honey bees.
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.3.7. Canada's sources of queen bee imports – by value (Canadian dollars)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
United States 7,138,232 7,111,970 7,177,805 7,313,155 7,327,062 85.9%
Italy 0 0 0 136,325 471,134 5.5%
New Zealand 63,232 884,234 103,034 318,928 254,707 3.0%
Australia 265,108 212,140 191,143 106,147 179,022 2.1%
Chile 217,937 225,279 504,080 143,554 177,519 2.1%
Others 2,767 14,166 0 22,001 117,351 1.4%
Total 7,687,276 8,447,789 7,976,062 8,040,110 8,526,795 100.0%
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

2.3.8. Canada's sources of queen bee imports – by quantity (number)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
United States 218,058 220,270 208,530 193,794 220,403 84.1%
Italy 0 0 0 4,089 17,170 6.6%
New Zealand 1,609 21,983 2,843 8,721 5,452 2.1%
Australia 8,527 9,676 7,837 3,023 7,302 2.8%
Chile 7,834 9,762 16,718 3,625 7,554 2.9%
Others 82 427 0 691 4,132 1.6%
Total 236,110 262,118 235,928 213,943 262,013 100.0%
Source: Statistics Canada. (CATSNET, February 2022)

3. Consumption

3.1. Honey available[1] for consumption in Canada – kilograms per person

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Honey[2] 0.90 0.85 0.95 0.98 1.14
Notes:
[1] Food available per person is calculated by dividing the domestic disappearance by the Canadian population as of July 1st of the reference year, at the retail level.
Domestic disappearance represents the total food available for human consumption from the Canadian food supply chain.
Total Supply = Beginning stocks + Production + Imports
Domestic Disappearance = Total supply − Exports − Manufacturing − Waste − Ending stocks
[2] Does not adjust for losses, such as waste and/or spoilage in stores, households, private institutions or restaurants or losses during preparation.
Source: Statistics Canada. Table 32-10-0054-01 Food available in Canada

4. World data

World trade data

4.1.1. Top exporters of honey worldwide – by value (thousands of Canadian dollars)

.
  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
New Zealand 348,666 317,420 304,314 440,858 409,756 13.2%
China 350,287 322,762 311,714 340,817 326,422 10.5%
Argentina 238,189 226,370 194,508 230,082 274,924 8.8%
Brazil 158,802 123,790 90,693 132,113 204,008 6.6%
Germany 182,095 182,512 176,548 201,025 184,366 5.9%
Ukraine 172,619 127,788 134,398 185,340 180,765 5.8%
India 135,573 132,635 134,046 111,235 170,838 5.5%
Spain 143,404 136,902 117,712 150,682 161,366 5.2%
Mexico 136,753 156,140 90,040 91,148 147,438 4.7%
Hungary 116,502 111,907 107,558 119,692 106,654 3.4%
Belgium 100,054 101,179 86,187 101,367 81,272 2.6%
Poland 55,506 55,894 57,868 83,525 79,129 2.5%
Romania 67,107 63,658 56,262 65,794 66,172 2.1%
Bulgaria 62,839 54,701 53,611 53,273 52,872 1.7%
Australia 35,455 38,705 44,369 49,901 46,110 1.5%
Netherlands 14,004 27,490 23,605 31,390 45,091 1.4%
Canada 76,986 78,011 53,827 47,371 44,663 1.4%
Uruguay 33,317 18,298 21,624 42,089 44,134 1.4%
France 47,128 41,448 39,824 38,342 43,167 1.4%
Turkey 30,245 33,190 32,850 35,080 39,127 1.3%
Others 510,085 504,996 438,534 478,483 403,409 13.0%
Total 3,015,616 2,855,796 2,570,092 3,029,665 3,111,683 100.0%
Source: Global Trade Tracker (February 2022)

4.1.2. Top exporters of honey worldwide – by volume (metric tons)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
China 129,274 123,478 120,845 132,469 145,886 21.1%
India 52,980 58,231 65,351 54,834 70,514 10.2%
Argentina 70,321 70,576 65,242 71,564 65,720 9.5%
Ukraine 67,907 49,461 55,769 80,872 57,590 8.3%
Brazil 27,053 28,524 30,039 45,728 47,190 6.8%
Mexico 27,723 55,674 26,901 27,485 32,082 4.6%
Germany 24,433 22,788 25,320 29,742 29,342 4.3%
Spain 24,833 23,090 22,528 28,263 28,442 4.1%
Poland 15,843 14,705 16,837 24,691 19,277 2.8%
Belgium 19,720 19,837 19,324 22,512 18,194 2.6%
Hungary 22,260 20,932 19,389 19,629 15,861 2.3%
New Zealand 11,038 9,024 9,455 14,358 13,840 2.0%
Bulgaria 13,302 10,719 12,950 12,834 10,793 1.6%
Romania 12,250 10,509 10,497 13,185 10,767 1.6%
Uruguay 9,186 5,803 7,904 15,778 10,600 1.5%
Thailand 12,855 10,265 7,908 7,672 10,315 1.5%
Turkey 6,455 6,418 5,548 6,038 9,995 1.4%
Portugal 7,161 4,840 6,112 7,442 8,557 1.2%
Italy 6,765 5,335 5,458 3,731 7,584 1.1%
Canada 19,196 18,587 11,847 9,309 7,341 1.1%
Others 84,144 84,664 78,561 90,098 70,230 10.2%
Total 664,699 653,460 623,785 718,234 690,120 100.0%
Source: Global Trade Tracker (February 2022)

4.1.3. Top importers of honey worldwide – by value (thousands of Canadian dollars)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
United States 739,697 627,684 553,350 592,344 833,597 26.1%
Germany 406,723 396,781 338,773 373,687 390,897 12.2%
Japan 185,433 188,619 191,607 233,619 212,746 6.7%
United Kingdom 169,545 166,461 147,531 161,610 164,218 5.1%
France 169,489 168,417 157,580 173,210 151,321 4.7%
China 118,605 91,170 112,618 119,270 132,001 4.1%
Poland 75,759 81,491 84,143 105,908 114,464 3.6%
Italy 106,654 130,572 105,873 108,676 111,636 3.5%
Spain 100,241 88,671 77,001 88,430 104,310 3.3%
Belgium 103,308 94,871 85,369 94,106 104,136 3.3%
Saudi Arabia 86,795 99,313 99,935 140,765 100,412 3.1%
Netherlands 79,273 84,481 70,282 75,328 86,964 2.7%
Switzerland 47,447 51,507 47,995 50,582 54,432 1.7%
Canada 41,284 36,787 45,403 42,576 47,479 1.5%
Australia 59,244 69,352 48,783 55,041 44,955 1.4%
Indonesia 7,536 10,316 16,663 35,204 40,768 1.3%
Austria 39,286 37,426 33,708 33,657 32,777 1.0%
Singapore 35,631 31,198 28,550 30,993 30,947 1.0%
Denmark 28,504 25,273 23,056 21,168 30,145 0.9%
Portugal 22,296 20,440 20,889 22,899 26,568 0.8%
Others 377,539 346,903 321,128 369,321 377,286 11.8%
Total 3,000,289 2,847,733 2,610,237 2,928,394 3,192,059 100.0%
Source: Global Trade Tracker (February 2022)

4.1.4. Top importers of honey worldwide – by volume (metric tons)

  2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2021 % Share
United States 202,565 187,588 178,948 196,531 220,231 30.2%
Germany 93,070 85,980 82,203 90,136 78,580 10.8%
Japan 42,821 44,521 44,788 49,348 47,112 6.5%
United Kingdom 46,092 50,590 48,830 52,655 45,852 6.3%
Poland 26,449 25,726 29,802 37,343 37,594 5.2%
Spain 32,251 27,920 26,547 31,690 31,628 4.3%
Belgium 25,925 24,914 24,849 28,077 31,265 4.3%
France 35,570 32,302 32,819 34,869 29,292 4.0%
Italy 23,602 27,875 23,580 21,041 21,074 2.9%
Saudi Arabia 16,294 16,969 18,512 23,529 19,292 2.6%
Netherlands 16,341 16,846 15,115 13,584 16,313 2.2%
Portugal 7,457 6,270 7,553 8,707 9,406 1.3%
Switzerland 8,192 8,229 8,240 8,192 8,229 1.1%
Canada 6,650 5,207 6,513 7,144 8,200 1.1%
Australia 8,621 6,873 4,784 8,010 7,921 1.1%
Greece 5,747 7,617 8,576 8,596 7,822 1.1%
Indonesia 1,500 2,026 3,041 6,216 7,235 1.0%
South Africa 4,206 4,407 5,261 6,003 6,868 0.9%
Austria 8,140 7,081 6,619 6,899 6,212 0.9%
Czech Republic 3,178 2,706 3,057 3,584 5,638 0.8%
Others 79,775 68,765 68,315 80,985 83,027 11.4%
Total 694,446 660,412 647,952 723,139 728,791 100.0%
Source: Global Trade Tracker (February 2022)

4.2 World production

4.2.1. Top producers of honey worldwide[1] – by volume (metric tons)

  2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2020 % Share
China 555,000 542,544 446,879 444,054 458,100 28.2%
Turkey 105,727 114,471 107,920 109,330 104,077 6.4%
Iran 67,783 67,302 77,388 77,973 79,955 4.9%
Argentina 68,123 76,379 79,468 78,844 74,403 4.6%
Ukraine 59,294 66,231 71,279 69,937 68,028 4.2%
United States 73,429 67,596 69,857 71,179 66,948 4.1%
Russia 69,764 65,167 65,006 63,526 66,368 4.1%
India 61,853 62,138 62,197 62,063 62,132 3.8%
Mexico 55,358 51,066 64,253 61,986 54,165 3.3%
Brazil 39,677 41,696 42,268 45,801 51,508 3.2%
Canada 42,900 43,550 43,089 39,295 37,601 2.3%
Tanzania 30,112 30,740 30,890 31,148 31,405 1.9%
Spain 31,018 29,393 36,394 31,161 30,513 1.9%
South Korea 32,328 25,866 26,414 29,744 29,375 1.8%
New Zealand 19,885 14,855 20,000 23,000 27,000 1.7%
Others 559,147 583,485 572,401 491,676 381,031 23.5%
Total 1,871,398 1,882,479 1,815,703 1,730,717 1,622,609 100.0%
Note:
1. FAO production data for the year 2021 was not yet available at the time of writing this report.
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations | © FAO Statistics Division 2022

Section B: Honey bee pollination
5. Economic contribution of honey bee pollination to Canadian agriculture

5.1. Background

Honey bee pollination is a critical input for many agricultural commodities. An established methodology can be applied to estimate the value of the direct economic contribution to agriculture generated by honey bee pollination.

Honey bees placed near target crops by commercial and hobbyist beekeepers are the most common form of managed pollination, though alfalfa leafcutter bees, bumblebees and some other insect species are used in specific agricultural circumstances. This analysis attempts to exclude the contribution of natural and controlled pollinators other than honey bees. Pollination services for blueberry, cranberry, orchard fruit and canola seed production generate the bulk of the demand for honey bee pollination.

This analysis relies on 2021 Canadian farm gate value or farm cash receipts for key commodities. The estimation uses established coefficients for each crop to determine the proportion of the crop harvest reliant on insect pollination and the proportion of insect pollination that is delivered by honey bees.

5.2. Value of bee pollination by crop

The contribution of honey bee pollination to agricultural production can be estimated using an established formula:

  • V × D × P
    where
    V = Annual value of crop
    D = Dependency of the crop on insect pollinators
    P = Proportion of effective insect pollinators of the crop that are honey bees
    The estimates used for D and P are those used by Morse and Calderone (2000).

5.3. Estimated contribution of Canadian honey bee pollination to value of key crops in 2021 (thousands of Canadian dollars)

Crop D[1]
(1 = 100%)
P[2]
(1 = 100%)
D × P[3]
(1 = 100%)
V[4]
(CAN$ '000)
Value of honey
bee pollination
D × P × V
(CAN$ '000)
Tree fruits       386,678 315,495
Apples 1 0.9 0.9 242,730 218,457
Apricots 0.7 0.8 0.56 1,950 1,092
Sour Cherries 0.9 0.9 0.81 4,301 3,484
Sweet Cherries 0.9 0.9 0.81 68,593 55,560
Nectarines 0.6 0.8 0.48 7,943 3,813
Peaches 0.6 0.8 0.48 41,411 19,877
Pears 0.7 0.9 0.63 11,203 7,058
Prunes/Plums 0.8 0.9 0.72 8,547 6,154
Berries       806,699 427,462
Grapes 0.1 0.1 0.01 202,997 2,030
Blueberries 1 0.9 0.9 311,658 280,492
Raspberries 0.8 0.9 0.72 26,471 19,059
Strawberries 0.2 0.1 0.02 128,562 2,571
Cranberries 1 0.9 0.9 137,011 123,310
Cucurbits       157,832 64,730
Cucumbers 0.9 0.9 0.81 46,413 37,595
Melons 0.8 0.9 0.72 27,155 19,552
Pumpkins 0.9 0.1 0.09 33,268 2,994
Squash/Zucchini 0.9 0.1 0.09 50,996 4,590
Oilseeds       15,089,847 2,355,169
Canola 0.2 0.9 0.18 12,033,069 2,165,952
Sunflower 1 0.9 0.9 31,710 28,539
Mustard Seed 0.2 0.8 0.16 85,672 13,708
Soybeans 0.1 0.5 0.05 2,939,396 146,970
Forage seed       134,713 13,471
Alfalfa Seed 1 0.1 0.1 134,713 9,407
Total       16,575,769 3,176,327
Notes:

[1] D = Dependency of the crop on insect pollinators.
[2] P = Proportion of effective insect pollinators of the crop that are honey bees.
[3] D × P = Combined coefficient.
[4] V = 2021 value of crop.

Sources:
The estimates for D and P used are those used by Morse and Calderone (2000)
The estimates for crop value: Statistics Canada

5.4. Discussion of contribution of honey bee pollination to crop production

Fruits and Vegetables

Insect pollination is critical to the economic performance of key crops in the horticulture (fruit and vegetable) sector. In Table 5.3, the established methodology is used to estimate the contributions of honey bee pollination to the Canadian harvest of major insect-pollinated crops. Apple production in Canada in 2021 generated a total harvest value of $243 million (farm gate value) of which honey bees were responsible for 90% or $218 million. For berries, in the rapidly growing blueberry sector honey bees are responsible for $280 million out of $312 million (90%) in high-bush and low-bush blueberries combined. In total, the 2021 economic contribution of honey bee pollination to production of fruits and vegetables is estimated at $808 million.

Canola

Special consideration of the contribution of honey bees to the production of canola is merited. Most canola planted in Canada today is hybrid seed. The production of hybrid canola seed grown to be subsequently planted by farmers the following season requires precisely timed and thorough insect pollination to bring together the separate genetic lines of the male and female parent plant strains. Since hybrid canola seed is produced primarily with managed pollinators, a portion of the value of this crop can be included as part of the direct agricultural contribution of honey bees through pollination. Most of the hybrid canola seed produced in Canada is subsequently planted in Canada. While commodity canola is primarily wind-pollinated, research indicates that honey bees foraging on canola can add to harvest quantity and quality. Researchers offer a wide range of estimates for the increase in production linked to honey bee foraging depending on plant variety and a number of local conditions, including the abundance of natural pollinators. The highest estimates suggest a gain approaching 20% in additional harvest value, while more modest gains from 2% to 15% have also been reported. Most of the 548,207 hives in the Prairie provinces forage on commodity canola for several weeks in the peak of summer.

Honey bees are estimated to be responsible for about half of the pollination that makes the production of hybrid canola seed possible (with alfalfa leafcutter bees primarily responsible for the other half). One approach to estimating the magnitude of this contribution is to take this share (50%) of the total farm gate value of canola into account as a key economic contribution of honey bees to the total value produced by Canadian agriculture. Total farm cash receipts for producers of canola were $12.0 billion in 2021. If honey bees are credited with making 50% of the production of canola seed possible (for a contributed value $6 billion), in order to avoid double counting, the additional estimated contribution from honey bee pollination to commodity canola from Table 5.3 must be removed from the total contribution. The additional agricultural value of all other crop pollination, less canola, is $1.01 billion, generating a total estimate for the contribution of honey bees of $7 billion.

5.5. Estimated economic contribution of honey bee pollination to crop production

The 2021 total annual economic contribution of honey bee pollination through direct additional harvest value is estimated at $3.18 billion (Table 5.3). Value beyond this is created by the contribution of honey bees to the production of hybrid canola seed was estimated $6 billion per year in 2021. The contribution to canola production combined with other agricultural production which benefits from honey bee pollination suggests the economic harvest value contributed by honey bees could be as high as $7 billion per year.

While a more rigorous and detailed scientific assessment of each commodity in production could produce higher or lower estimates, this analysis shows that the value to agriculture of honey bee pollination is substantially greater than the value of honey and other hive products produced (about $280 million per year). This estimate does not capture the growing contribution of alfalfa leafcutting bees to canola and blueberry production, managed bumble bees, nor the valuable contribution of natural pollinators.

6. Key Resources

  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Statistics Division
  • Global Trade Tracker
  • Morse&Calderone. (March 2020). “The Value of Honey Bees As Pollinators of U.S. Crops in 2000.” Beeculture. https://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu
  • Statistics Canada. Table 32-10-0353-01 Production and value of honey
  • Statistics Canada. Table 32-10-0054-01 Food available in Canada
  • Statistics Canada. CATSNET

Import and export data is based on the following Harmonized System Codes (H.S. Codes):

  • Honey for import: 0409000010; 0409000021; 0409000022; 0409000023; 0409000024; 0409000025; 0409000026; 0409000029; 0409000090
  • Honey for export: 04090000
  • Honey Bees for import: 0106410010; 0106410011; 0106410012; 0106900011; 0106900012
  • Queen Bees for imports: 0106410020