On May 3, 2020, Georgia and World published an article headlined “The West abandoned Italy in hardship and do you imagine, how they will behave in respect of Georgia?!” According to the article, Georgian honey will never gain access to European market, because the European Union adopted special regulations which Georgia will fail to fulfill. The author claims that there should be no pit latrines in an eight-kilometer radius from beehives that is unimaginable in Georgian reality and requires the installation of sewerage systems throughout the country. The author brings an example of honey to illustrate that Georgian products will never gain foothold on European and American markets, because no such opportunities have been opened up.
Since 2016, Georgian honey enjoys quota-free access to the EU market. Georgian honey should meet general EU directives and regulations on food safety. Actually, there are no special regulations for Georgia or any restrictions on pit latrines. Exports of Georgian honey to the EU market have already been launched and the European Union helps Georgian bee keepers meet all necessary standards.
Georgian honey has access to the EU market since 2016
In 2016, the European Union included Georgia in the list of “third countries” and allowed Georgian honey to be imported to the EU. The EU trade committee decided positively on allowing Georgian honey imports to the European Union.
Export of Georgian products to the EU market is regulated under the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA), according to which Georgian honey enjoys quota-free access to the EU market.
Georgian honey should meet general EU directives and regulations on food safety to gain access to the EU market. Actually, there are no special regulations for Georgia.
To ensure safety of consumers, all products imported to the European Union, including honey should comply with European laws and meet EU standards.
The EU-funded study prepared within the framework of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD) lists all requirements Georgian honey should meet to gain access to the EU market.
One of the requirements is that when placed on the market as honey, it shall not have added to it any food ingredient, including food additives (Directive 110/2001). Furthermore, the European Union controls the amount of pollutants in a product, determines maximum residue levels of pesticides (Regulation 396/2005) and pharmacologically active substances (Regulation 37/2010) in foodstuffs. Business operators are also required to meet production and distribution standards (Regulations 178/2002, 852/2004).
According to the EU regulations, a distance of a three-kilometer radius should be kept from the source of contamination.
According to the EU regulations, beehives must be positioned in an area with a radius of 3 km, which is free of contamination by chemicals, rather than 8 km as claimed in Georgia and World’s article. The sources of contamination involve an industrial complex, airport or main road – any source, containing hazardous chemicals (metals, toxins, pesticides, etc.).
Exports of Georgian honey to the EU market have already been launched and the European Union helps Georgian bee keepers meet all necessary standards.
Georgian honey was first exported to the EU market in 2019. A total of 6.4 tons of honey were exported from Georgia to over 15 countries in January-November 2019. Germany tops the list as the largest amount of honey (1.9 tons) was exported just to this country.
Through the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development (ENPARD), the EU helps Georgian bee keepers meet all standards in order to gain access to the EU market.
The ENPARD-supported State Program to Support Beekeeping Agriculture Cooperatives was launched in 2017. The program improves the material and technical base of agriculture beekeeping cooperatives and increases the quality and quantity of honey and other beekeeping products through providing capital investment for agriculture cooperatives. 150 beekeeping cooperatives were granted with over 11,190 beehives and other equipment important for honey production. The total financial commitment from the government is GEL 928,313.
Prepared by Lika Buchunteli
Myth Detector Lab