Hacking the way to improve WA’s honey industry

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Daniela Boksjo from Beeautify in the laboratory at the Y.hub in Yanchep. Picture: Anita McInnes

ENTREPRENEURS, scientists, bee keepers and university students will be putting their creative marketing and problem solving skills forward at the 2020 Honey Bee Hackathon.

The October event brings together industry and innovators to share product ideas and develop them for local and export markets.

The event is run by the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Honey Bee Products with support from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

Attendees will hear from commercial beekeepers, honey bee product packers and successful project development businesses.

Participants are invited to bring along their ideas, work in a group to test and evolve them, and then undergo a panel evaluation.

The best concept which provides an opportunity to value add to the honey industry in Western Australia will receive $500 to support their progress.

CRC chief executive officer Liz Barbour said the WA honey bee industry was valued at $50 million at the farm gate, but had the goal to grow to $100m by 2030.

“To reach this industry goal, changes in thinking on honey bee product marketing are needed, with events such as this a great way to inspire innovative ideas and approaches,” she said.

Dr Barbour said previous hackathons had resulted in the launch of new honey products onto the market, such as honey-based cosmetic products developed by Yanchep-based business Beeautify.

“Owners Figge and Daniela Boksjo took their products to the 2019 Honey Hackathon and received praise for their idea of infusing honey into natural skin care products,” she said.

“Soon after, they launched their product range and continue to focus on product development for their skincare products, which adds value to local honey.

“This is a great example of how the Honey Hackathon is used to develop ideas to value add to local honey and provide a launching pad into the market place.”

DPIRD agribusiness development consultant Gerard Leddin said WA had the advantages of having clean bees which were free from many pests and diseases, and sustainable products.

“The department is working with the honey industry to support opportunities that enable the industry to grow,” he said.

The Honey Hackathon will be held in South Perth on Friday, October 16 and Saturday, October 17.