Beekeeping in France
This sector comprises approximately 60 000 beekeepers with 1 300 000 bee-colonies. This represents a honey production of 17 tons and a royal jelly production of 2 tons for a turnover of 120 million euros.
3 different levels of beekeepers can be identified :
- 2000 professional beekeepers with more than 150 beehives, producing more than 60% of the honey production
- 3000 semi-professional beekeepers (who have another working activity) owning between 30 and 150 beehives
- 55 000 hobby beekeepers with less than 30 beehives
Our honey production has been decreasing for a few years while our consumption remains stable (40 000 tons). The result being we import more than 20 tons of honey per year. Causes are multiple: competition from foreign honeys, pests and diseases (30% of mortality per year).
Work with Youth
No national associations for young beekeepers exists in France, nor any beekeeping schools. The most important beekeeping teaching takes place in apiary schools in which professional beekeepers teach during a year how to become a beekeeper. There are apiary schools in every ‘departement’ (county). Nevertheless it’s possible to learn and to practice beekeeping as additional courses in. some agricultural schools
The most important competition takes place during the International Agricultural Show in Paris in which honeys are tasted and prizes are awarded.
Interesting tips for Apitourism
Just the same way as green tourism, apitourism has been developing in our country but not as importantly as in other countries. Lots of honey festivals are taking place during which people can meet local beekeepers, taste and buy honey, royal jelly and by-products. These festivals are also a way of teaching beekeeping and communicating about dangers which threaten our local beekeeping. Some guesthouses are also developing api-therapy stays with beehives products tastings.
There are a lot of associations: the most important ones are the UNAF: the National Union of French Beekeepers and the SNA: the National Beekeepers Union. Nevertheless, beekeepers are more involved in local beekeeping associations which are more representative of their beekeeping and of their region.
ICYB contact person, email
Contact for a youngster for AYB
(Association of Young Beekeepers)