The land of milk and honey is still living up to its name, according to data the Central Bureau of Statistics released Monday ahead of the Shavuot holiday. In 2013, total milk production in Israel stood at 1,435 million liters, a 2 percent increase over 2012.
Israel’s cows remained the most productive in the world, producing an average of 11,780 kilograms of milk each.
Honey production was up even more. Israel’s bees kept busy, producing 3,400 tons of the sweet stuff in 2013, a 9.7% jump over 2012 levels, which were 6.9% higher than in 2011.
But while the glut of honey helped prices fall 7.8% between the end of 2012 and 2013, the price of pasteurized milk rose 5.9%. More expensive dairy hits Israeli consumers hard; dairy comprises 15.2% of households’ monthly food expenditures, making it the fourth-largest expenditure for families.
The milk that flowed over Israeli borders grew as well. According to the Israel Export Institute, Israeli exports of dairy in the first quarter of 2014 increased 25% compared with the same period the previous year, reaching $7 million. Over the past decade, Israel’s dairy exports have increased 142%, growing from $12.2m. in 2003 to $29.5m. in 2013.
Dairy sales to North America fell 25% in 2013, while dairy exports to Asia rose 30%.
No wonder that China’s state-own Bright Foods decided to shell out more than $1 billion for a controlling stake in Tnuva, which controls 70% of the Israeli dairy market.