Denis CHERNOMORETS: „We are going to promote honey on the foreign market under a single brand - „Honey from Moldova”
According to the National Agency for Food Safety (ANSA), in the beekeeping season in 2019, 6,500 tons of honey were produced in Moldova, which is 30% more than in 2018. Approximately 90% of our honey is exported to foreign markets. It is in demand in Italy, Romania, Germany, France, Slovakia, Poland, the Czech Republic, North Macedonia and other countries. Honey is one of the very few Moldavian animal products that are exported to European markets. Nevertheless, Denis Chernomorets, chairman of the non-governmental organization „Green Nations” and manager of the European project for the development of beekeeping in Moldova (PEDAM), believes that the industry needs serious comprehensive reform. Denis Chernomorets spoke in an interview with InfoMarket about the prospects and opportunities that open up in this industry.
InfoMarket: What is wrong with the industry, what reform does it need?
Denis CHERNOMORETS: Everything is right. Our honey is an excellent product in all respects. But it is bought from us for use as an admixture, to improve the taste of honey from China and Latin America. It is necessary to change this approach to export and start supplying packaged, end products under the common brand „Honey from Moldova” to foreign markets, and fight for its recognition among consumers. To achieve this, it is necessary to rebuild the entire system of the technological process, starting with the creation of a register and electronic passports of apiaries, the process of teaching new, ecological technologies in beekeeping, the organization of a system for monitoring product quality according to European standards, etc.
InfoMarket: And how can this plan be implemented?
Denis CHERNOMORETS: We have a comprehensive strategy for the modernization of beekeeping. And we are aware that one player, even the largest, cannot achieve the desired result without effective partnership. Therefore, we signed cooperation agreements with the ministries of agriculture and education, with Moldsilva agency, with representatives of local administrations and beekeepers. Our main principle is absolute transparency.
InfoMarket: After all, the project does not boil down to signing agreements?
Denis CHERNOMORETS: No, of course, we have moved on. Today in Moldova officially are registered more than 7 thousand apiaries, which contain more than 236 thousand bee families. On average, these are 33 families per apiary. From the export perspectives, these are not very large volumes. Therefore, we are promoting the idea of bringing together beekeepers into cooperatives. With our support, the first two have already been registered: Green Apis Nord and Green Apis Sud. In total, we will create seven such cooperatives in Moldova.
InfoMarket: And how will you help them organize the export?
Denis CHERNOMORETS: Through training, working with partners, both internal and external. We provide advice to PEDAM members: legal, accounting, expert support in developing a business development strategy, taking into account the specifics of each case, in the preparation of documentation for government subsidies and various grants. We are working on a single platform for marketing in the domestic and, especially, in the foreign markets.
InfoMarket: How does interaction between participants of the project is manifested?
Denis CHERNOMORETS: I will give one example of our cooperation with Moldsilva agency. More than 50% of the honey resources of Moldova is located on the territory of the country's forest fund. Nevertheless, there is no systematic approach in this area yet. We set ourselves a goal to develop a map of the honey plants of our forests, to calculate the most rational location of apiaries. We will provide Moldsilva agency with drones for inspecting the entire forest fund, including the honey crops. Together, we will provide apiaries in the agency’s department with ecological hives and help promote the brand “Forest Honey from Moldova”.
InfoMarket: Are there any foreign partners?
Denis CHERNOMORETS: Yes, of course. These are European donor organizations and foundations, government entities competent in the field of agriculture, as well as beekeeping organizations from Germany and Austria, who will share their experience with their Moldovan colleagues.
InfoMarket: At one point you said that the project has a social component ...
Denis CHERNOMORETS: We will teach beekeeping to people with disabilities. Then, on certain mutually beneficial conditions, we will help them acquire hives. The project will really enable these people to secure a livelihood for themselves and earn money.
InfoMarket: A similar approach can be applied to other areas of agriculture in Moldova?
Denis CHERNOMORETS: Maybe you are right. But the bee is a creature that affects two-thirds of the foods we eat daily. Therefore, we decided to start with beekeeping.//21.04.2020 – InfoMarket.