Iran will supply a large shipment of honey to China in the near future, a first of its kind for the country’s honey industry.
An official in the Iranian agriculture ministry (MAJ) said on Wednesday that up to 2,000 metric tons (mt) of honey will be supplied to China based on a contract signed between the two countries last year.
The figure is nearly equivalent to Iran’s total annual honey exports.
Toraj Saremi said honey exports to China will begin once the MAJ meets the hygiene and safety standards set by Chinese authorities.
“It is expected that exports of high-quality Iranian honey to China could begin in the near future through a direct export line between Iran and China,” said Saremi.
He said exports to China will give Iranian honey producers an opportunity to market their products in other East Asian markets.
Iran’s agriculture minister Javad Sadatinejad and China’s customs chief Yu Jianhua signed an agreement in July last year to allow the exports of citrus fruits and honey from Iran to China.
Authorities were hopeful at the time that the agreements could pave the way for a diversification of Iranian exports to China away from traditional shipments of oil products, petrochemicals and minerals.
Agrifood shipments currently account for around 15% of Iran’s annual exports to China, according to the Iranian customs office figures.
MAJ figures released in April last year showed that the country had become the third largest producer of honey in the world after China and Turkey with an annual output of 111,000 mt.
The country had some 11 million bee colonies in nearly 100,000 bee farms last year, the fifth largest in the world.
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