Most people know medicinal honey by the New Zealand name “Manuka”. Until the discovery of the medical properties of Manuka honey it was a honey that nobody wanted and beekeepers could not give away there honey if it was tainted with nectar from the shub “Leptospermum scoparium”. The honey has an odd flavour that most people don’t enjoy. The discovery of Manuka honeys strong medical properties has changed the New Zealand beekeeping industry into one of the most profitable beekeeping industries in the world.
Traditional pricing for honey at around $5 to $7 per kg limits the viability of honey producers worldwide without including pollination services which is time consuming and resource dependant. With prices ranging from $30 to $700 per Kg for Manuka honey every beekeeper in New Zealand became the envy of the world with L. scoparium growing almost everywhere in New Zealand all efforts were diverted to the production of Manuka honey and New Zealand has already exceeded the natural bush supply of L. scoparium and has now started turning to small and large scale plantations to increase production of the Manuka Honey. But with only one species and one sub species available in New Zealand this limits there production quite considerably.
Here in Australia there are some 79 varieties of Leptospermum spp but not all of them are medicinal but 4 species of Leptospermum have been identified as producing medicinal grade honey suitable for the production of Manuka Honey. There has been an Australia wide and worldwide effort to identify other plant spp that produce medicinal honey and this search has identified to date around 10 species of plants from ground covers to large trees that have now been identified and tested to produce medicinal grade honeys. There are ongoing efforts to identify new and better plants and these can be incorporated into the plantation if they are seen as being complementary to the currently available species and plantation layout.
By the smart use of these different plants it is possible to extend the flowering period of the plantation from 3 or 4 months per year to almost the entire spring, summer and autumn periods. By this means we are able to increase yields for the plantation quite considerably making the return on investment much higher.
With the production of medicinal honey there is also the opportunity to harvest oils from the leaves of many of these species to produce a variety of medicinal oils similar to Tea Tree oil and with a wide variety of usage. Manuka medicinal oil is now becoming commonplace in the markets worldwide. This Manuka oil has similar properties to Tea Tree oil and combinations of the two oils are also available.
The Manuka honey industry is set to grow to 1Billion dollars by 2025 and current demand outstrips supply many times over. This demand will continue to grow for the foreseeable future.
If you are a land owner and looking to invest in Manuka honey production I am here to help you in every way I can..