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Showing posts tagged “honey”

Enjoy this post from Zhuoya Lu, the Fairtrade Liaison Officer in China. Lu attended the 2013 General Assembly of the Jiyuan Huakang Beekeeper Professional Association (JHBPA) and presented a workshop on Fairtrade to the group.
Meet Chaogun Cui (left) and Yonghe Wei from JHBPA. In November I joined 242 beekeepers from different regions gathered in Jiyuan, China, for the association’s annual general assembly.
The chairman of JHBPA presented a report on the past year and the 2014 work plan. It had been a difficult year with bad weather in the summer and low yields and quality. Hoping to keep up motivation for the next year, JHBPA gave out awards for the best quality of organic honey, the highest yield, and highest average production (per beehive). Some beekeepers, like Yonghe, received more than 2000 Yuan (450 Euros).
“2013 was a good year for me. With 15 tonnes of production, I received the award for  highest total production and highest average production per beehive. I’m happy,” said Yonghe Wei, who manages 150 beehives with his wife.
“At the end of year, we plan to travel to Hubei to raise bees there and wait until next spring’s blooming season. The beekeeping is hard work, we spend almost ten months per year outdoors and often spend the Chinese spring festival far away from our families.”
Chaoqun Cui, the other beekeeper in the photo, is the youngest in the association at 21 years of age. He follows in his father’s footsteps, also a member of association.
“Beekeeping is different from farming, the know-how is very important. Besides that, the climate and the location also determine the final production,” Cui said.
He wants to learn more from his father. He now owns 86 beehives. Cui is satisfied with his annual income of around 50 000 Yuan (6250 Euros) because he still lives with his parents and doesn’t have many expenses for daily life.
The association is a stable buyer for him and the price offered is quite good. He sells some honey to individuals, but he sells most of the product to the association.
The chairman of JHBPA explained to me that they plan to spend this year’s Premium money on beekeeping medicine and beehives for members, and some to pay the Fairtrade certification fee. Next year’s work will focus on the price fixing, improvement of product quality, and reducing the risk involved with production.

Enjoy this post from Zhuoya Lu, the Fairtrade Liaison Officer in China. Lu attended the 2013 General Assembly of the Jiyuan Huakang Beekeeper Professional Association (JHBPA) and presented a workshop on Fairtrade to the group.

Meet Chaogun Cui (left) and Yonghe Wei from JHBPA. In November I joined 242 beekeepers from different regions gathered in Jiyuan, China, for the association’s annual general assembly.

The chairman of JHBPA presented a report on the past year and the 2014 work plan. It had been a difficult year with bad weather in the summer and low yields and quality. Hoping to keep up motivation for the next year, JHBPA gave out awards for the best quality of organic honey, the highest yield, and highest average production (per beehive). Some beekeepers, like Yonghe, received more than 2000 Yuan (450 Euros).

“2013 was a good year for me. With 15 tonnes of production, I received the award for  highest total production and highest average production per beehive. I’m happy,” said Yonghe Wei, who manages 150 beehives with his wife.

“At the end of year, we plan to travel to Hubei to raise bees there and wait until next spring’s blooming season. The beekeeping is hard work, we spend almost ten months per year outdoors and often spend the Chinese spring festival far away from our families.”

Chaoqun Cui, the other beekeeper in the photo, is the youngest in the association at 21 years of age. He follows in his father’s footsteps, also a member of association.

“Beekeeping is different from farming, the know-how is very important. Besides that, the climate and the location also determine the final production,” Cui said.

He wants to learn more from his father. He now owns 86 beehives. Cui is satisfied with his annual income of around 50 000 Yuan (6250 Euros) because he still lives with his parents and doesn’t have many expenses for daily life.

The association is a stable buyer for him and the price offered is quite good. He sells some honey to individuals, but he sells most of the product to the association.

The chairman of JHBPA explained to me that they plan to spend this year’s Premium money on beekeeping medicine and beehives for members, and some to pay the Fairtrade certification fee. Next year’s work will focus on the price fixing, improvement of product quality, and reducing the risk involved with production.

Apple Honey Tart Recipe

Enjoy some favorite seasonal ingredients from the orchards and apiaries with this recipe from Wholesome Sweeteners by Chef Mani Niall.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large or 3 medium tart baking apples such as Granny Smith or Pippin
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or vinegar
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Fairtrade Organic Amber Honey
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • Zest of 1 large lemon or 2 small
  • Pie dough for one 10-inch tart pan

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Peel and core the apples. Cut in half and then into 1/2”-thick slices. Add 2 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar to a small bowl of water. Dip the apples into the water, drain and set aside.

Bring the butter, honey, and cinnamon to a boil in a small, nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil for 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the cream, then add the lemon zest. (It may bubble and sputter, so be careful.) Cool for 10 minutes.

While the honey caramel sauce is cooling, arrange the apple slices in a decorative pattern over the tart crust, trimming the exposed slices to suit your whim.

Pour the sauce evenly over the apples and place in the oven. After 12 minutes, lower the heat to 350°F without opening the oven and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown. Place under the broiler for 1 or 2 minutes, watching carefully, for an even deeper caramelized look. Cool briefly and serve.

Recipe Source: Covered in Honey by Chef Mani Niall of Sweet Bar Bakery in Oakland, CA via Wholesome Sweeteners.

Life Sweeter for Beekeepers in Chile

By Miles Litvinoff

In an area of widespread poverty thirty five beekeepers got together in 1994 to sell their honey. In debt to local money lenders they still struggled to make a decent living. Since becoming Fairtrade certified the beekeepers are earning 20% more for their honey, they have built their own processing facilities and improved their standard of living.

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Sitting in their one-storey wooden office in a corner of the plaza of the quiet market town of Santa Bárbara in southern Chile, Joel Uribe and Luis Villaroel talk about their beekeepers’ cooperative, COASBA, with quiet pride.

Joel, an engineer by training, founded the association in 1994 and built it up from next to nothing, using his home as an office and working unpaid to get COASBA on its feet. More recently, Luis, who used to drive lorries for a living, took over from Joel as president.

Early on, COASBA’s members - families who kept bees and produced honey on a small scale – were all part-timers. Very few owned any land, so most had to rent a small plot for their hives. None could earn a decent livelihood as honey producers.

COASBA has come a long way

Today most of COASBA’s 35 members, including two women, practise beekeeping full time. Honey and bee serum are their main source of income. After years of effort invested in developing their skills and processes, Joel and Luis claim the taste, cleanliness and nutritious quality of their honey are among the best in the country. They feel they are raising standards in their industry for the whole of Chile’s BioBío region.

At first, coop members were often in debt to local moneylenders. They had to use the cheapest low-quality bulk containers to transport the honey. There was little time to spend on hygiene, pest and disease control, or breeding. Plus they had no way of knowing when they would make their next sale. That was before COASBA heard about Fairtrade.

Then they heard about Fairtrade

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Joel and Luis believe they could not have developed COASBA without Fairtrade. And they claim that Fairtrade has helped raise earnings for beekeepers all round – not just for coop members.

Introduced to Fairtrade by a Chilean church-based development organization supported by the European Union, COASBA’s honey has been Fairtrade certified for the past five years. The most obvious benefit, for Joel and Luis, is that Fairtrade means better incomes. Coop members get 20 per cent more for their honey than when they sell through other channels.

All COASBA members – who between them now keep several thousand beehives, producing roughly 130 tonnes of honey a year – allocate some of their produce to be bulked up in modern stainless steel drums and sold to Apicoop, a large Fairtrade certified exporter cooperative based on the coast. Apicoop exports the honey to Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Spain, Belgium and the UK. In the UK it’s an ingredient in Traidcraft’s popular Geobars. 

Joel and Luis believe they could not have developed COASBA without Fairtrade. And they claim that Fairtrade has helped raise earnings for beekeepers all round – not just for coop members. 

Freed from moneylenders and exploitative middlemen, each COASBA member has a regular guaranteed income. The coop pays them once a year, which enables people to plan. COASBA itself retains a percentage of sales income to invest in improving production processes and for administration. This has created several new jobs, such as for Maria-José Cordoba, the young woman who runs the small office in the plaza. Coop households have raised their standard of living. Many have bought their own plot of land and improved their homes. Several now own a vehicle for transporting the honey. Some of their children are among the first from this rural community to go to university. 
In a region where rural poverty is widespread, family finances are far better than before. Crucially, the younger generation can see a future in beekeeping and in running a coop, rather than joining the exodus of young rural unemployed to the bigger towns and cities.

The coop has earned a reputation for paying off its debts promptly and won respect from such bodies as the Agriculture Ministry’s Institute for Agriculture and Livestock Development. Between members there is increasing trust and mutual support. When necessary COASBA lends members money to buy equipment or medicines for their bees, with more time to repay than before. It has supported member households through periods of hospitalisation.

Professional development, advice and training are another major benefit. Maintaining and improving production standards are all important to COASBA. The coop is a member of Chile’s national network of beekeepers and prides itself on high technical and sanitary standards. Joel and Luis sense they are gaining national level recognition for their produce.

COASBA has recently begun to provide advisory services for local beekeepers outside the coop, along with programmes in basic beekeeping for the local municipality. Though not certified organic, Joel and Luis claim their honey is organic in all but name. They see beekeeping as essentially an ecological activity and are determined to help protect the diverse native flora of the beautiful BioBío river valley.

Honey from Santa Bárbara

COASBA’s confidence is growing. At the heart of their future plans lies the small yet ultra-modern honey processing plant and laboratory they are building just outside the town. The new one-storey building will house facilities that, they intend, will be second to none in the whole country. Initial support for the project, begun in 1999, came from a regional non-profit foundation. The building is almost ready and will enable the coop to add far more value to their product. Here they will not only bulk up their honey for export but also bottle it in jars for domestic retail markets, proudly labelled ‘Honey from Santa Bárbara’. At the front gate will be a shop selling honey to passers-by.

The laboratory they are installing will enable coop members to diagnose and control diseases among their bee colonies far more effectively and promptly. Currently they have to send samples away for analysis. The idea is for the laboratory to serve not just members but beekeepers throughout the region. Genetic improvement and training programmes are being planned in partnership with two Chilean universities.

Joel and Luis’s ambition is for COASBA to become an independent honey exporter. They foresee the day when jars labelled ‘Honey from Santa Bárbara’ will be on sale in food shops throughout Chile, Europe and even the Middle East.

Notes

COASBA’s full name is Cooperativa Campesina Apícola Santa Bárbara. Miles Litvinoff interviewed Joel Uribe and Luis Villaroel in Santa Bárbara, Chile, on 29 December 2005.

(C) Miles Litvinoff 2006. This article is from Miles Litvinoff’s and John Madeley book, 50 Reasons to Buy Fair Trade. No permission is needed by Fair Trade organisations to reproduce the article, provided that Miles Litvinoff is acknowledged as the author and notified of its use (miles.litvinoff@ phonecoop.coop).

Images: Ingrid Allende/Fairtrade International

Happy National Honey Month!

Captions and credits (from left to right, top to bottom)

  1. Miguel Angel Garcia, a beekeper associated with Cooperativa Agricola de Apicultores del Petén RL (COADAP), checking hives near Santa Elena, Peten. COADAP is a certified Fairtrade honey producer based in Guatemala. (Credit: Sean Hawkey)
  2. Closeup of a honeycomb. (Credit: Sean Hawkey)
  3. Man-made honeycomb. Cooperativa Integral de Producción Apicultores de Cuilco (CIPAC) certified Fairtrade producer based in Cuilco, Huehuetenango, Guatemala. (Credit: Sean Hawkey)
  4. Alex Juarez of COADAP in his beekeepers veil. (Credit: Sean Hawkey)
  5. Honey dripping from wooden spoon. (Credit: Fairtrade Finland)
  6. Open jar of honey. (Credit: Fairtrade Finland)

Honey Almond Biscotti Recipe

What would National Honey Month be without a recipe featuring honey! Check out this yummy Honey Almond Biscotti recipe below from Wholesome Sweeteners.

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INGREDIENTS

1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup Wholesome Sweeteners Fairtrade Organic Amber Honey
2 cage-free organic eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp anise seeds
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup dried cranberries
3/4 cup slivered almonds

DIRECTIONS

Using electric mixer, beat butter until light. Gradually add honey, eggs and vanilla, beating until smooth. In small bowl, combine flour, anise seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, salt and baking soda gradually add to honey mixture, mixing well. Stir in cranberries and almonds. Shape dough into two 10x3x1-inch logs on greased baking sheet. Bake at 350°F for 20 minutes or until light golden brown. Remove from oven to wire rack cool 5 minutes. Reduce oven to 300°F. Transfer logs to cutting board. Cut each log into 1/2-inch slices arrange on baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes or until crisp. Cool on wire racks.

Recipe source: The National Honey Board via Wholesome Sweeteners

Business is Buzzing for Apicola Honey Cooperative

The beekeepers of Cooperative Pueblo Apicola are spread across Uruguay, but they have one thing in common: they all live in rural areas, and as a result have limited commercial opportunities. Before they formed the co-op, the combination of poor rural roads and limited information meant that beekeepers had to depend on local middlemen to buy their honey. In a weak bargaining position, they were often forced sell their honey at a fraction of the real value.

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