by BERNAMA/ pic by BERNAMA
MALAYSIA’S kelulut (stingless bees) honey industry has the potential to reap RM3.03 billion in annual sales if the lucrative business is further developed.
A lecturer at the University Malaysia Terengganu’s business, economy and social development faculty Dr Nur Azura Sanusi said, the amount was based on the estimated 330g kelulut honey consumed by Malaysians every year.
“Currently, the total market volume of the country’s kelulut honey industry stands at only RM33.6 million, while the market potential is at RM67.2 million.
“This proves the kelulut honey industry has the potential to be a viable source of income to improve socio-economic status among entrepreneurs, whether they are small or commercial,” she told Bernama recently.
Nur Azura is a member of the committee which prepared the development of the national kelulut honey industry plan 2020-2030 launched November last year.
The government via the 10-year plan, wanted to elevate the industry to become a viable new source of revenue.
According to data provided by the Agriculture Department in 2017, the total kelulut honey production in Malaysia stood at 134,244kg and generated total sales of RM19.3 million, she said, adding that sales of downstream products such as soap and beauty creams contributed RM143,000.
The size of the total production according to her, was still small compared to the market demand of 802,962kg.
“To increase the kelulut honey production, several strategies have been drawn including holding entrepreneurship courses with assistance from the relevant government departments and agencies.
“Besides that, there is also a requirement to establish a centralise kelulut honey collection centre which can serve as a reference body on issues involving standards, purities and certifications to ensure all entrepreneurs adhere to the specifications set in order to give justice to customers,” she said.
Asked on efforts to export kelulut honey to the foreign market, Nur Azura said Malaysia exported 100kg of the special honey to Japan in 2018, while another 300kg to Singapore and 500kg to India, Taiwan and China respectively.
Despite that, the industry faces several challenges in its bid to penetrate overseas markets as numerous countries still do not recognise kelulut honey as honey due to its sour taste.
“The sour taste of (kelulut) honey can become an advantage ‘signature’ in our effort to promote it extensively, portraying the unique aspect of Malaysia. It can also become one of the country’s strategies in promoting the tourism industry,” she said.