Polska pomoc


Partnership in the modernisation of beekeeping in Moldova

Beekeeping is a traditional sphere of agricultural production in Moldova. Its export potential is considerable and according to experts, it can successfully compete in international markets. Honey is also the only product of animal origin which is exported to European Union countries.

One of the most representative factors pointing to the development of beekeeping is the number of bee colonies owned by the producers. According to the National Bureau of Statistics of Moldova, in 1980-1988, the number of colonies was about 160 000 on average. The peak occurred in 1989 and 1990, when there were 388 000 and 371 000 respectively. In the 1990s, there was a gradual decline. The lowest number of colonies occurred in 2001, falling to 72 000. Afterwards, the situation gradually improved, reaching 102 000 in 2007 and 2010. After the year 2000, an external economic factor appeared. Several times the European Union banned the import of honey from Moldova due to the detection of antibiotics in the honey. Today, Moldovan beekeeping is gradually adjusting to the EU requirements concerning harmful residues in honey, including antibiotics. A higher level of the latter led to the discontinuance of exports of Moldovan production in 2006 and in 2008. At the same time, in 2013, during a honey competition organised within the 43rd International Apicultural Congress in Ukraine, products from Moldova won two gold medals.

Even if domestic honey production meets the EU standards, its development is stifled by the dispersion of the producers, which adversely affects the quality of honey. Farms engaged in professional honey production account for only 0.002 percent and cover only 1 percent of the needs. As much as 90% of the honey is made in home apiaries, with the farmers personally selling their products because this is profitable, or selling them to wholesalers to quickly obtain cash.

Many specialists are of the view that the honey production culture in Moldova is far from perfect. Throughout the world, the main earnings of beekeepers come from pollination (of crops) – the revenues from this are ten times higher than revenues from the production of honey and other bee products (royal jelly, propolis). Pollination with bee colonies is the most natural and safe way to improve crop yields (by 5-50 percent). In the flowering period, one bee colony can generate earnings of about USD 40, while in the developed western market this can reach USD 200. However, the Moldovan beekeeping producer organisations are held back from reaching this global level by their individualist mental attitude, which no one intends to change for now. The beekeepers are completely satisfied with their 100 percent or higher gain from domestic production.

In order to modernise the path “from production to exports,” not only good intentions of the beekeepers are needed, but also help from the authorities, and above all the development of a national strategy for development of beekeeping. Apart from increasing and expanding honey exports, it is also necessary to develop the culture of its consumption in Moldova. The potential Moldova has to offer makes it possible to increase the number of bee colonies from the current 150 000 to 500 000, and honey production from 4 500 tons to 10 000-12 000 tons a year, of which 50 percent can be exported to European countries.

The implementation of this goal can be aided by the wealth of experience of Polish beekeeping, which has undergone various stages of development, beginning with a considerable drop in production in 1990, up to government support of honey production and trading under the technical assistance of rural development programmes. The implementation of Polish experiences in Moldova may quickly activate the country’s beekeeping operations, enabling them to compete in foreign markets, particularly when Moldovan honey is considered to be among the best in the world and has won many prizes in international competitions.

Partnership in the modernisation of beekeeping in Moldova

The project will be implemented in Moldova’s Central Region, in 13 counties (about 1 000 villages). The region is covered with forests and has a large number of beekeepers. A group of young professional beekeepers is operating in this area, introducing modern beekeeping methods. There are 12 large apiaries here, with 1 500 bee colonies.

The aim of the project is to raise the quality of Moldovan beekeeping, broaden the knowledge of beekeepers and modernise apiaries in order to increase the competitiveness of the products and gain new markets. The project’s actions will lead to the transfer of Polish experiences to Moldovan circumstances, ensuring that knowledge of experts and practitioners is passed on.

A study visit will be organised for Moldovan beekeepers and experts to Poland, where they will meet with groups of Polish beekeepers and become acquainted with their production and promotional methods. These will include groups of beekeepers-producers of drahimski and kurpiowski honeys, registered in the EU. Participants will also become acquainted with the Lubusz Wine and Honey Trail, being an example of successful promotion of local beekeeping as a tourist product.

The project will also include a visit of Polish experts and beekeepers to Moldova, where they will share their experiences in seminars and workshops. The experts from Poland will also take part in drawing up an analysis of the current state and needs of Moldovan beekeeping, to serve as the groundwork for the strategy of development of beekeeping in Moldova, worked out in subsequent actions.

A Guide to Good Beekeeping Practices will also be issued, containing information on how to run an apiary in accordance with EU norms. A cluster of producers, beekeepers from the Central Region, will be organised, as well as a group of producers to prepare an application for registration of “acacia honey from Orhei” in the EU register of regional and traditional products.

A folder entitled “Honey from Moldova” will be prepared and published in Moldovan and in English, promoting Moldovan honey among domestic as well as foreign consumers.

Partnership in the modernisation of beekeeping in Moldova

The project’s implementation will result in:

  1. Online establishment of the Regional Information Centre for beekeepers
  2. Preparation of a programme of workshops and consulting services
  3. Creation of producer clusters for beginners and small beekeepers
  4. Establishment of a strategic partnership of Poland and Moldova in the field of beekeeping, signing of an agreement between Polish and Moldovan beekeeping organisations
  5. Preparation of a guide on Good Beekeeping Practices, describing the requirements and procedures regarding the development of Moldovan beekeeping in accordance with EU norms
  6. Preparation of application to EU for “Acacia honey from Orhei”
  7. A promotional publication entitled “Honeys of Moldova”