I sympathize with the comments but I have a more optimistic outlook for the industry. I see opportunity everywhere for good companies and brands. I see no value in a Coop. A raw material is only worth market value. It is worth the price that demand creates. A coop cannot change this position. I can also assure you that packers, with or without hives have skin in the game. Each part of the industry is dependent on the other.Here in sunny Hawke's Bay we don't have to worry about selling this seasons Honey crop because there isn't any. It hasn't stopped raining for six months and a lot of hives are still being fed. That of course doesn't help us out of the current situation but a really bad crop throughout the whole country would at least use up some of the honey stocks.
Hard times for beekeepers were normal when I was growing up but it doesn't mean I like them. I am more concerned about the future of beekeeping because of varoa than economics but both of them are bad enough that I struggle to see things getting better for some time.
Co-op's might be the answer. They weren't in the past. Who knows they may be in the future.
It wasn't that many years ago that we were getting two dollars for clover and four dollars for manuka and we thought all our Christmases had come at once. Yes there has been a lot of inflation since then but increased costs coupled with lower production caused by overstocking and increasingly also by varoa damage mean that even if you adjusted those prices for inflation you probably couldn't live on it anymore. Expenses for honey packers have also increased astronomically most notably with all the stupid requirements MPI place on everybody .
A united industry body that fights back against stupid regulation would help as would a return to the days of owner operated producer\packers who actually have some knowledge about the beekeeping industry as well as some skin in the game and don't benefit from low honey prices.
There are lots of small things we could do in New Zealand to improve things but the reality is something needs to change overseas to make a big difference and that will probably happen at some stage but I don't know when. Taking fake honey out of the world market would instantly increase both prices and sales .
My advice to anybody either in beekeeping or wanting to get involved would be to go for it if you love bees and the lifestyle but for the next few years at least don't expect to become rich from it . If you want to get rich then find another job.