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It means that for every Argentinian beekeeper fall about 160 bee families whereas, for instance, in the USA it is 96 families and in Poland 25.
This area of Argentinian agriculture provides employment for approximately 120 thousand people.
Argentina is the third (after China and the USA) producer and supplier of honey in the world. Interestingly enough, the national rate of honey consumption is quite low, between 180 and 200 grams per capita annually. The biggest honey amateurs - Japan, Germany and the USA - eat over 1 kilogram for a person. WHO estimates that a statistic inhabitant of our planet consumes about 220 grams of honey per annum.
Argentinian apiaries export 50 to 60 thousand tonnes of honey what amounts to 95% of whole production. Approximately 100 companies are engaged in this business and their main recipients are Germany, Italy, the USA, Great Britain and France. What is more, the exported honey constitutes 70% of the gross honey production in South America.
At the turn of 21st century, Argentinian apiaries would acquire 115 thousand tonnes but in the last decade honey production has been rapidly plummeting. It is the result of more and more spread soya bean crop that pushes out natural vegetation and limits the bees forage.That is why, a number of programmes aiming at beekeeping development have been introduced so far, especially in the provinces of Misiones, Tucumán, Neuquén and Chubut where the local forage and weather conditions are taken into consideration.
Climate diversity and vegetation resources make it possible to produce honey in majority of regions. The yardstick of honey quality is deemed its brightness with a scale range between 1 and 120 points.The brightest (up to 5 points) are the most valuable and sought after. These are honeys acquired from lucerne, cereal plants, clover and sunflower and they are most appreciated by Japanese.The average output of a bee family is estimated to 30 kilograms. A kilogram of honey could be bought fro 10 pesso in 2011. There are regions where 45 to 50 kilograms of honey per bee family is nothing unusual. With favourable forage and weather conditions some beekeepers are able to acquire as much as 60 kilograms form a bee family.
There are about 500 different bee races with the most popular being Italian bee, Carniolan bee and Caucasian bee.
The most common bee forage includes such plants as: cotton, lucerne, clover, yellow sweet clover, citrus trees, apple trees and other fruit trees, willow, acacia, poplar and many other plants that are so exotic to us that do not have Polish or even Latin names.