Discover the 10 Countries That Produce the Most Honey

Written by Baylee Bunce
Updated: September 7, 2023
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Honey bees spend their entire lives creating honey, a sweet liquid substance enjoyed by people worldwide. Throughout the globe, honey has been used for years as a natural sweetener. However, honey also has ancient origins as a medicinal substance. In addition, many countries produce large quantities of honey as a major part of their economy. In 2021, all the countries of the world produce a total of 1,771,944 tons of natural honey. The biggest output was Asia, but remains closely followed by the Americas. Learn more about the 10 countries that produce the most honey in the world below.

1. China – 472,700 tons

wooden hives in the outdoors guilin,guangxi, china

Beekeepers in China manage millions of hives, including 1 million hives in the center of Chinese honey production, Zhejiang Province.

©asharkyu/Shutterstock.com

According to Reuters, China produces a quarter of all global honey, close to 500,000 tons every year. More than 100,000 tons of its honey is exported to Europe and the United States. Many of China’s beekeepers are nomadic. They take their hives to pollinate various crops and orchards throughout China. Most of China’s honey is produced in the Zhejiang Province, which also plays a significant role in the silk industry.

2. Turkey – 96,344 tons

Photograph of Turkish Baklava in Ottoman Tile Turkish Coffee Cup and Turkish Tea Concept, Uskudar Istanbul, Turkey

Honey is a major ingredient of baklava, which is a sweet, layered dessert popular in Turkey.

©RauL C7/Shutterstock.com

In Turkey, favorable conditions have supported the development of a robust apiculture industry. Honey production in Turkey has been an important aspect of agriculture for thousands of years. Turkey also benefits from a diverse population of bees, with 20% of the world’s bee sub-species found in the country, according to the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

3. Iran – 77,152 tons

Best farm animals

Beekeepers in Iran collect and process over 77,152 tons of honey every year.

©iStock.com/djiledesign

Production of honey is spread across several regions of Iran. West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan, and Ardabil are the three provinces with the largest production of honey in Iran. The overall success of agriculture in Iran remains highly impacted by the development of the honey industry. Honey bees support the pollination of cherries, grapes, pears, tomatoes, bell peppers, saffron, and more.

4. Argentina – 71,318 tons

Bee hives

The honey produced in Argentina is considered some of the highest quality honey in the world.

©kosolovskyy/Shutterstock.com

With a little over 70,000 tons produced in 2021, Argentina ranks as the 4th largest producer of honey in the world. Argentina is a top producer of honey, but local consumption of honey is fairly low, although this trend is showing signs of changing. Most of the local honey produced in Argentina is exported to other countries.

5. Ukraine – 68,558 tons

Ukraine

Situated in eastern Europe, Ukraine has seen its bee industry grow to include 1% of its total population.

©hyotographics/Shutterstock.com

Ukraine produces honey for domestic consumption as well as export. A big sector in Ukraine’s economy, 70,000 people work in apiculture, or 1% of the total population. Some of the best natural honey produced in the world comes from Ukraine. Because of Ukraine’s importance in the global agriculture industry, it is no surprise that they raise so many honey bees to produce all that honey!

6. India – 66,278 tons

Honey, Jar, Honeycomb - Animal Creation, Pouring, Table

Several species of bee are used for honey production in India, including Apis dorsata and Apis florea.

©iStock.com/nitrub

Honey is an important but relatively untapped industry in India. There is the potential for 200 million colonies of honey bees compared to the 3.4 million colonies currently cultivated in the country. Honey bees play a big role in India’s entire agricultural sector beyond its production of honey. Honey bees pollinate fruits, vegetables, pulses, oilseeds, and fiber plants.

7. Russia – 64,533 tons

Various types of honey on the counter. East market. Makhachkala, Dagestan, Russia - October 1, 2022.

There are over a dozen types of Russian honey available within the country.

©Lizavetta/Shutterstock.com

Russia sits in the top 10 honey producers, with a share of 3.5%. Every year, Russia typically produces enough honey to remain self-sufficient. Some of the most popular and well-known honey types exported from Russia include Far Eastern, Altai, and Bashkir honey. Russian citizens most often purchase honey directly from beekeepers during the height of the honey harvest season.

8. Mexico – 62,080 tons

Image of bee or honeybee on yellow flower collects nectar. Golden honeybee on flower pollen. Insect. Animal

Although European honey bees are raised in Mexico, indigenous communities sometimes use native bees.

©yod 67/Shutterstock.com

Beekeeping is a large and vital part of the Mexican economy. In Mexico, there are 41,000 honey producers raising 2 million hives and receiving profits of around $56 million per year, according to UN University. Many indigenous communities in Mexico practice traditional forms of beekeeping using methods from pre-Columbian times.

9. United States – 57,364 tons

Products Made From Honey

Honey is a popular treat in the United States, whether people enjoy it with tea or in their desserts.

©Julia Metkalova/Shutterstock.com

The honey bee is not native to the United States, but European colonization brought both honey bees and apiculture to the North American continent. Surprisingly, the cold northern state of North Dakota ranks as the top honey-producing state in the United States, followed by states like South Dakota, California, Florida, and Texas. Honey generates a large amount of money every year in the United States, making $339 million in 2019.

10. Brazil – 55,828 tons

Closeup of honey bee and brazilian  honey cookie chocolate covered - Pão de mel

A popular treat made out of layers of spiced chocolate and honey cake, pão de mel (Brazilian honey cakes), uses honey.

©Tibilletti/Shutterstock.com

The production of honey is growing in Brazil, especially in the state of PiauĂ­. Total honey production in Brazil was 55,828 tons in 2021, with 7,000 tons expected in PiauĂ­ in 2023. Comparatively, Brazilians do not consume a lot of honey on their own, but Brazil is moving to extend its exports of honey in the future.

Summary of the 10 Countries That Produce The Most Honey

RankCountryHoney Production in Tons
1.China472,700
2.Turkey96,344
3.Iran77,152
4.Argentina71,318
5.Ukraine68,558
6.India66,278
7.Russia64,533
8.Mexico62,080
9.United States57,364
10.Brazil55,828

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Julia Metkalova/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Baylee Bunce is a writer at A-Z Animals, primarily covering cats, gardening, travel, and geography. Baylee has been writing and researching about animals for 3 years and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology from Purdue University, which she earned in 2018. A resident of Indiana, Baylee enjoys working in her backyard garden and spending time with her cats, Stormi and Lady.

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