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Organic beekeeping and market trends: Presentation at BioFach

During Biofach 2011, market trends and figures on organic beekeeping were presented in the workshop "Organic beekeeping and market trends."  The interest on the topic was very high and more than 60 participants were present. 

Potential of organic beekeeping

Organic beekeeping represents a great possibility for farmer cooperatives and families to run their own companies and increase their income in rural areas. However, due to a number of constraints hindering the expansion of organic beekeeping worldwide such as production, certification and quality, the demand for organic beekeeping products such as honey and wax cannot be met. The aim of the workshop was to inform and discuss the current situation on the production, constraints and market trends of organic beekeeping products.

Main conclusions of the workshop

In many countries organic beekeeping is not widely practiced in comparison to conventional beekeeping, but some countries are in a very dynamic stage. The biggest producer of organic honey is Brazil. Organic beekeeping has very high potential in different countries (see presentation on the Mexican organic beekeeping case), however, the main constraints are lack of knowledge on organic beekeeping methods, low honey yields, complicated market access for many beekeepers, stringent export regulations (EU), various critical points of certification (e.g. interpretation of organic beekeeping standards), traceability (along the entire honey food chain) and prices for organic honey do not always cover production cost.  A big danger to organic beekeeping is the use of GMO’s. This aspect of beekeeping is not yet included in the current debate on coexistence with GMO’s in Europe. GMO free honey is almost a “mission impossible” for beekeepers in the Americas (USA, Canada, Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay). In the EU, it depends on the region, but in Spain, Poland and Slovakia and in some countries in Africa a growing contamination with GMO’s may be occurring, in Africa, for instance,  through US food relief campaigns (e.g. GMO’s maize seeds given as aid are used for further agricultural production). New ways of organizing were also presented, such as the “Cooperativas sin Fronteras”, which is a group of producer organizations and stakeholders from various countries promoting management, growth and integration of cooperatives and / or farmer associations.

Going forward

Another outcome of the workshop was the launch of an organic beekeeping sector network. Another event that will foster this network further and improve communication and exchange of experiences within the organic beekeeping sector is the “World Conference on Organic Beekeeping,” which will take place in April 2012 in Chiapas, Mexico. This event will be organized by FiBL, Naturland and local partners.

Further information


Dr. Salvador V. Garibay

Workshop presentations

biofach.fibl.org: Presentations from the workshop "Organic beekeeping and market trends."

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