Current context of Apiculture

In every region of the world, apiculture is facing enormous challenges that face every agricultural activity, especially household and small-scale. The ecosystems are getting more deteriorated by human activities that produce loss of flora, fauna, biodiversity, native forests, water sources, among others. Progress in urbanization, deforestation, indiscriminate felling, intensive single crop development, use of pesticides, agrochemicals and genetically modified organisms, are altering the ecosystems, endangering the lives of bees and agriculture as a whole.

Apiculture has a huge impact in ecosystem sustainability: the pollinating activity of bees has significant positive effects in environmental sustainability and productivity in many agricultural crops; and, thus, in village’s food sovereignty.

Apiculture contributes to productive diversification of agricultural land plots and farms and it is natural thermometer of our crops health. Where there are bees… there is life.

CLAC’s Honey Network in COP20 in Peru

In the 2014 COP20 held in Lima, the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Fair Trade Small Producers and Workers (CLAC) presented the voice of small bee-keepers towards climate change. One of the most visible effects for them are the changes in rainfall patterns: these no longer coincide with flowering season, causing a significant fall in honey production. If producers do not respond with proper management to deal with droughts, there is a high probability that colonies swarm, that the queen go out to look for new horizons and with her the whole colony; thus, the bee-keeper loses all his invested capital in the beehive.

Furthermore, there is: a general decline in population because of variations in temperature; a humidity increase in honey by the lack of bees; an increase in pests and diseases previously undetected; and a general change in the behavior of bees.

Unfortunately, many conventional producers respond to the challenges presented by the weather by changing crops, using a larger number of agrochemicals or working on cattle raising, which means further deforestation and loss in vegetation. Both choices are equally negative for the blossoming of new wildlife species highly melliferous and with pollen, both by the elimination of their habitat and the application of herbicides.

The Honey Network in the 4th International Symposium of Organic Apiculture

From 6th to 10th of September 2016, in Santiago del Estero (Argentina) was held the 4th International Symposium of Organic Apiculture (ApiBio 2016), hosted by “CoopSol” Cooperative (fair trade honey) and the International Federation of Beekeepers’ Associations APIMONDIA.

CLAC’s Honey Network, that comprises the Latin American and Caribbean small beekeepers of fair trade organizations and cooperatives participated presenting the challenges for fair trade apiculture, which include:

  • Improve impact in apiculture and fair trade communication and awareness.
  • Propose differentiated public policies that value apiculture’s role in productive, environmental and social sustainability in our rural areas.
  • Work together, with all the players in the supply chain, to achieve a better understanding and access to new markets in a fair a solidary manner.
  • Share climate change risks throughout the supply chain.

Small producers of fair trade took their voice to more regional and global stages that, inevitably, will have to connect once more with their local realities. On the Symposium, CLAC’s Honey Network presented its public positioning, calling different players and sectors to coordinate deeper actions for apiculture’s sustainability.

The Small Producer Organizations of Fair Trade, articulated in CLAC’s “Honey Network”, presented in Santiago del Estero, in the ApiBio 2016 Congress, a public positioning that collects the ideas shared by its representatives during the 7th of September 2016.

From beekeepers’ organizations of fair trade, it is called upon the public, private and civil society players to join and share together efforts in the following topics related to apiculture’s sustainability:

1. Large-scale awareness and communication for a responsible consumption of honey and other apicultural products

  • Promote, from different state and governmental levels, incentives for the consumption of honey and other apiculture products in local, national and regional markets of Latin America and the Caribbean;
  • Build new communication strategies, with support from public and mass media players, to rescue and value the great work that bees do for pollination and other benefits for biodiversity and environmental sustainability; also, the efforts from small beekeepers that keep alive apiculture in countries in the region;
  • Promote public procurement and responsible consumption of small producers of fair trade products, with different players, starting with partners from organizations, universities, schools, among others;
  • From the small beekeepers’ organizations of fair trade, promote a better communication of fair trade impact, life and organizational stories behind the products that are sold.

2. Small producer organizations sustainability

  • From the global market’s point of view, fair trade beekeepers consider it necessary a greater control at an international level of honey and other adulterated products that are already on the market. These products deceive the consumer and represent a disloyal competition for small producers. In this regard, we call upon Fairtrade licensed buyers to work in a more careful and transparent way, according to fair trade principles;
  • Control the participation of big honey traders in Fairtrade’s certificate system, so that it does not affect the sustainability of the smaller ones;
  • Promote, from the organizations themselves, production and sale of finished products ready for consumption, to generate higher added value in producing countries;
  • Promote youth inclusion in small beekeeper organizations;
  • Promote exchange of experiences between beekeeper organizations in the continent.

3. Climate change

    • Build alliances to raise awareness in society and all the commercial players, about the negative effects of climate change and about the urgent need of sharing its risks between all the players in the supply chain;
    • Design, implement and evaluate, with the direct participation of producers, public policies to share in rural communities the benefits that apiculture provides and thus facilitate the migration of hives in different rural areas (for example: tax incentives);
    • Avoid the indiscriminate use of pesticides because of its negative effects in biodiversity, soil and crops sustainability and human health, and also to mitigate global warming.

Check the latest news of the Honey Network

Honey Network computer graphics

Do not hesitate to contact the Honey Network to help you solve any questions regarding our work, organizations, certificates or projects related to fair trade honey.